Escalation Contacts-Frequently Asked Questions
As seasoned professionals in the lone worker safety industry we often get asked questions from clients.
We are firm believers there is no such thing as a stupid question, so we always try to answer them as plainly and simply as possible.
Here we have compiled the questions we hear the most about being a lone worker’s escalation contact.
If you are an Escalation Contact for A Lone Worker:
What if I go on holiday?
If you go on holiday you can just log on to Connect, our dedicated portal, (or ask your manager to do it) and swap yourself off the escalation list. This will automatically update all the lone workers for whom you are an Escalation Contact.
When you return from holiday, just switch back over. Simple!
What if I change my phone number?
If you change your number, it is important that you let us know as soon as possible. You can update this from Connect too. Again, it will update for all the lone workers for whom you are an Escalation Contact.
What do I do when a red alert goes off?
When a red alert goes off you may never get to hear about it if the Alarm Receiving centre (ARC) operator can speak to the lone worker.
If they cannot get a response from the lone worker, they will then start to call the Escalations, so it important that you answer your phone.
You should then set about trying to contact the lone worker by any means necessary to establish if they are safe and well.
Once you have confirmed they are ok, it is so important that you let the operator know so they can close down the alert and deal with the next call coming through.
If you need to speak to the operator again you can just dial on the number they phoned from. If you need the emergency services to attend once you find the lone worker, you can request assistance from the operator.
What do I do if I am nowhere near my lone worker?
If you are nowhere near your lone worker you can either try to contact them by any other means, or phone someone who you know if near the lone worker and ask them to check on them.
What if I have had a drink and cannot drive?
The perfect scenario for the safety of your colleagues is not to drink whilst you know you are on call.
However, it can happen! Don’t ignore your phone just because you think you might not be able to help.
You can tell the operator that you are in no position to assist and request they call the next Escalation Contact, or you can phone a colleague and ask them to assist on your behalf.
However, all this takes up vital time and is not reliable.
Ideally, you will have taken yourself off the call list via Connect before you start drinking.
What do I do if I am genuinely worried about a lone worker?
If you have a genuine concern for a lone worker, you should immediately alert the operator. They can pinpoint the device’s location and call the emergency services.
Then start following your internal procedures around alerting managers.
What is the maximum lone workers I can be an escalation contact for?
There is no maximum number.
I missed the call from the operator. What do I do?
Please call them back as soon as you see you have missed a call.
I am out for the evening. Can I just turn my phone off?
No, please do not do this, as we will still try to contact you and leave messages, which all takes time. That could endanger the life of your colleague or other lone workers out there, as an operator is tied up.
If you know you are going out, please log on to Connect and temporarily remove yourself from the list.
It is a good idea to let the other Escalation Contact know you are not available to ensure someone stays available.
What if I can’t find the lone worker?
If you cannot find the lone worker, you can ask the ARC operator for help. If the lone worker is outside, their device will have sent GPS locations, and an Amber Alert message may help to locate lone workers indoors.
Can I be An Escalation Contact if I am also lone working?
Yes, absolutely. This often works well, as you are both out in the field.
Have a look at our guide to being a good escalation contact here for more detail.
If you are a Lone Worker
How do I choose my escalation contacts?
In some companies they will be chosen for you but if you are able to pick your own you should choose an Escalation Contact who is usually in your locale and is reliable enough to answer their phone.
Can my spouse be an escalation contact?
If it is appropriate and your employer allows it, then your spouse can be your escalation contact.
In some places of work, however, it wouldn’t be appropriate. For example, your spouse may not be allowed on a construction site without the necessary cards and PPE.
Unless, of course, you work together.
How many Escalation Contacts can I choose?
You should have at least 4 escalation contacts but you can have as many as you like.
If you are the Manager of a Lone Worker
Can I be an Escalation Contact?
Yes absolutely. It is often the case that managers are the first Escalation Contact because they have a better idea of where the lone worker should be.
How can I make sure all the Escalation Contacts take it seriously?
You should include a section on Escalation Contacts in your Lone Worker Policy and make sure everyone understands it. This enforces the policies and means issues are dealt with in a standardised way.
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If we have used a little too much jargon in this article, have a look at our Jargon Buster for clarity.