If you’re looking to provide your lone workers with personal safety devices and want to ensure full engagement, or you’ve already invested in devices and technology but they’re not being used as much they should, you may be scratching your head. So what can you do to engage your staﬀ, increase device usage and encourage compliance? Read on for our top five tips…
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Ask employees for their input and feedback. Use consultations with them as an opportunity to highlight the importance of embedding health and safety culture into the workplace. Discuss any concerns or worries early on.
If you have already implemented devices, but they are not being used properly, then you need to understand why and break those barriers down. If you know what’s stopping your employees from using your devices, then you know where to start to solve the problem.
For example, do they have worries about setting them oﬀ by accident, or concerns around how to use them? Do the conﬁgurable device settings suit your team’s speciﬁc job roles? Do they understand why they need to use them in the ﬁrst place? It’s important to respond to concerns by taking them seriously and addressing them swiftly.
Your chosen supplier of lone worker safety solutions should work on a consultative basis with you to help you and your staﬀ get the most from the devices, so they should also be able to help address any concerns your workforce may have. Involving your staﬀ when making decisions will help encourage compliance through a sense of ownership.
Employees need to know what is expected of them when it comes to health and safety. Therefore, communications need to be kept clear and concise.
Constructing simple usage guidelines for lone worker devices, alongside a more comprehensive policy, may make it easier to engage employees — increasing the chances of them being read and understood.
Keep language accessible, to-the-point and consider covering the following:
• Details of the devices the lone worker is issued with
• How the device should be worn /carried, and in which situations
• How it should be operated and under which circumstances
• How device faults should be reported, and who they should be reported to
• What do if the device is lost or damaged
• Who to speak to with any worries or concerns about using the device
• Disciplinary consequences (if applicable) of failing to follow safety policy
Champion the apps or devices and lead by example. Management buy-in of all levels is crucial as it demonstrates to employees that protecting lone workers is important to their company and their job.
You could also ask them to report back any feedback they hear ‘on the ground’ from colleagues, whether positive or negative. This is all constructive, as it will alert you to any issues that need tackling, or in the case of positive feedback, reassure you that what you are doing is right.
Health and safety culture needs to be embedded within an organisation and staﬀ need to be set examples from above, so never underestimate the role that management plays in doing this. And it goes without saying that if you are to encourage your staﬀ to use a device, you need to be conﬁdent and knowledgeable about using it yourself.
Consider identifying inﬂuential members of the team and appointing them as ‘health and safety champions’. Pick someone popular amongst their co-workers and task them with leading by example and being an advocate of the device.
If employees don’t know how to use a device, then they won’t use it. And when training staﬀ in how to use them, it’s important to communicate why they are needed. Lone workers need to feel they are using the devices to help themselves, not simply following orders from above. This is all part of encouraging the buy-in of health and safety systems, which must start from day one, so ensure that lone worker safety training is included in new staﬀ inductions.
Your chosen supplier of lone worker safety solutions should oﬀer training as part of the service, including annual refreshers. Take advantage of this, and don’t be afraid to ask if you have any questions yourself. After all, if you’re not fully clued up, you can’t expect your staﬀ to be.
If employees are worried about making mistakes or don’t understand the point of the devices, they will be less likely to use them — so investing time and eﬀort in helping staﬀ get to know the product will pay oﬀ.
Understand how much devices are being used and you will know if, and where, improvements need to be made. Monitor their usage and eﬀectiveness, and identify any gaps or patterns so you can take a more targeted approach to ﬁxing them.
Your chosen supplier of lone worker safety solutions should provide you with an account manager. They will monitor usage on a weekly basis, contacting individuals who have low usage, or those who are not using the device or applications correctly.
It’s vital that employees know that you are monitoring them for the right reasons. They need to understand it’s for their safety, rather than a bid to turn the workplace into a corporate Big Brother. This message should be reiterated throughout any training and comms.
Take advantage of new technologies that allow you to monitor from mobile phones. That way, you can keep track of usage eﬀectively and eﬃciently — to ultimately ensure the safety of your lone workers.