According to Berg Insight, there are 53 million lone workers in Canada, the United States and Europe combined – about 15 percent of the overall workforce!
The Health and Safety Executive defines lone workers as those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision. Lone workers aren’t necessarily physically alone, they might just be in a separate location to the rest of their team or their manager. According to Guardian24, lone workers include those who:
Such as taxi drivers, chauffers, and truck drivers.
Such as sales and customer service representatives, graphic designers, and consultants.
Such as maintenance workers, healthcare workers, environment inspectors, agricultural and forestry workers and those working in enclosed spaces.
On the same premises or outside normal hours, such as security staff.
Such as shops and gas stations.
The International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that approximately 1.3 billion people are mobile workers. IDC also predicts that by 2020, 72% of the workforce will be mobile. Many of these mobile workers work alone continuously or at various times throughout their workday. The rise of the mobile and lone workforce has brought upon new challenges for safety and security professionals – how can we keep our employees safe if they are working alone?
Organizations must redefine duty of care and take steps to ensure safety for people who work alone. Safety and Health Magazine suggests developing policies communicating with workers, and using available technology to track worker location and movement as ways to ensure lone workers never feel truly alone. Not only will lone workers feel more connected to their employers, but a direct connection might increase productivity and retention. Lone workers will streamline activity and will be less likely to look for employment elsewhere when they know their employer is heavily invested in their safety. Employees who are out of sight, cannot be out of mind.
by Steven M. Crimando, Principal, Behavioral Science Applications
Employee location information can come from a variety of sources. Depending on your company, location data is likely already available but not accessible in an actionable format. Let’s look at some common sources of location data:
Corporate travel management systems and medical and security assistance providers like International SOS can provide travel itinerary data (flights, hotels, rail travel,) etc.
By law, employers have a responsibility to protect their workers regardless of whether they’re surrounded by colleagues or alone on an assignment. The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries recommends training lone workers on emergency response, establishing a clear action plan in the event of an emergency, and ensuring regular contact between lone workers and supervisors as ways to keep lone workers safe.