A lone worker or operator is an employee who performs an activity that is intended to be carried out in isolation from other workers, without close or direct supervision. Such staff may be exposed to risk because there is no one to assist them, so a risk assessment may be required. Manufacturers and service suppliers often have to send out lone workers to meet clients, install equipment or provide support services.
They may have people in fixed establishments where only one person works on the premises, people who work outside normal working hours, people who work away from their fixed base, or people who are mobile workers. Lone working may be part of a person’s usual job or it could occur infrequently, as and when circumstances dictate. Lone working is not unique to any particular group of staff, working environment or time of day. The National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom defines lone working as:
“… any situation or location in which someone works without a colleague nearby; or when someone is working out of sight or earshot of another colleague”. The United Kingdom’s Health and Safety Executive defines lone workers as those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision.
Examples of lone workers are:
Hazards which lone workers face include:
Pacific Controls ICT Enabled Managed Services for Business Process Integration offer real time monitoring of all active workers, using Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking to provide geographic positional and status information should they have to raise an alarm. An alert is activated automatically if the worker is not responding. The 24x7x365 real-time remote monitoring system provides the exact details of the location the alarm was issued and its status and this information is automatically passed on to the team on the ground, enabling a faster response. The building or vehicle that the worker is using can be monitored centrally from the GCCC, as can intruder and fire alarms. The system can monitor any number of individuals at multiple locations. Having a data communication channel in addition to a mobile phone provides extra resilience, especially if the phone is lost, out of charge or stolen. As well as the risk of physical harm, lone working can lead to psychological issues such as stress, low morale and loss of confidence. This, in turn, can affect the quality of work, productivity and staff recruitment and retention. Making use of Pacific Controls managed service for personal safety and protection provides cost-effective reassurance for staff that their lives are protected, while improving staff retention and reducing insurance premiums.
Pacific Controls managed services can be used to monitor usage and stocks of supplies and to replenish stocks before they run out. By analysing trends and forecasting usage, the service can automatically optimise inventory levels so that investment in unused stock is minimised, without risking problems with production being stalled or sales lost owing to the lack of key items. The process can be tailored to the needs of individual departments and users and is suitable both for low value/high turnover items and for more expensive and important equipment. Maintenance and operating and production supplies, as well as safety and janitorial supplies, can also be managed in this way. The system will manage purchase orders and make paperwork flow more efficiently through all departments. It reduces the time spent on the purchasing of routine and low-value items and allows the end user to attend to more important issues. It reduces problems with obsolescence and dead inventory. Suppliers can ensure that genuine replacement parts and consumables are used, which are particularly valuable when cut-price alternatives can cause problems.