Staying Safe When Lone Working for a Utility Company – Top 5 Tips
The utility sector is a varied industry but includes companies such as electric, gas and water firms. Working alone in the utility industry is quite common and can include some high-risk roles.
This post describes some of those hazards and what can be done to reduce the risk of accident or incidents.
What Are The Hazards of Lone Working in Utilities?
There are a variety of hazards those in the utility sector face, the main ones being down to visiting different locations or the people employees may encounter.
This hazard is common in the water utility industry especially but can also apply to those who work in any of the other sectors. Remote working is lone working, but the risk is elevated due to the locations and nature of the work. Employees who work for water firms can often have to visit some quite rural and remote locations for maintenance work. All the usual risks of lone working apply but with the additional danger that there may be no phone signal in the area and it could be hard to locate an employee should an accident occur.
Working at height or with electricity
Some roles in the sector can involve working in very dangerous environments where the risk of serious injury or even death can be high if proper care isn’t taken. Those working in the electricity industry face the risk of electrocution if a mistake is made and working at height is common across most of the utility industries.
Members of the public
Many employees in the utility sector will come into direct contact with members of the public. For example, those in the gas and electricity industries who may be visiting peoples homes to take meter readings or carry out maintenance work. The majority of the time these jobs are carried out with very few problems but workers can occasionally encounter people who may have mental health problems, become upset or have aggressive pets in their properties.
Top 5 Tips For Staying Safe in the Utilities Industry
1) Know how to defuse hostile situations
your employer should train you in how to help calm and defuse situations which turn hostile. Being able to keep calm and handle a situation is a key skill when working with the public and can help turn dangerous situations into much more manageable ones.
2) Stick to locations and people you are scheduled to see
The first time a carer visits a new service user or location, they will be unsure of the situation they are entering and so should remain alert for any sign of threat. If the client to be visited is not present, the carer shouldn’t enter the address and shouldn’t be persuaded to visit another location.
3) Wear your lone worker device
If you have a lone worker device you should keep it charged and to hand at all times. It could save your life. A lone worker device can be a lifesaver in any of the situations mentioned above under hazards. From attacks by pets to malfunctioning equipment. Don’t enter an address without setting an amber alert and having your device close by you or on your person.
4) Participate in the correct training for your role and tasks
Care assistants will have to carry out many tasks which without the correct training, can be dangerous. Do not do any task for which you are not trained. For instance, moving a service user or using their equipment to help you do so. Your employer should give you the right training for the right tasks.
5) Diarise visits
Your employer should know where you are at all times. Not to check up on you but in case of emergency. Even if you carry a lone worker device, your visits should still be scheduled in advance and known to your employer. These recordings should include the time you are due to attend a service user home and an expected finish time.
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