A Look at Working Alone in the Digital Age

Posted on 4/22/2019 by Lauren Scott

Even with all the technology that keeps us connected, EHS professionals face unique risks when working alone. Whether its handling hazardous chemicals, moving machinery, or even just sitting at a desk, lone workers are more prone to accidents than those surrounded by other employees, no matter how well connected they are. Smartphones, laptops, tablets, and GPS trackers may keep lone workers accessible, but they don’t do the job. It is still the employee who needs to be able to  think independently and make decisions that are in the employer’s best interest. So how can we keep EHS employees safe even when digital technology enables constant supervision and access to information?

Risks of Relying on Technology

Using trackers, alarms, cameras, and digital messaging systems can be a crucial asset to employees who work alone frequently. These technologies allow managers and employers to monitor workers and can alert them when a situation arises.

However, it is important for employers to frequently check these devices for faulty batteries and ensure accurate functionality. This may involve workers inspecting and cleaning devices on a monthly or weekly basis. Frequent inspections are the best way to prevent equipment malfunctions when an employee’s safety is at risk. It is also worth consulting an IT professional to learn what steps to take to prevent such malfunctions.

A comprehensive approach to lone worker safety will ensure your employees are confidently performing their jobs when in an isolated environment. In addition to utilizing technology, supervisors should still perform periodic check-ins, especially when EHS professionals are working with hazardous materials. The extent of check-ins required depends on the risks and the ability of the lone employee to identify and handle health/safety issues.

Keeping Lone Workers Safe

EHS employers should also ensure lone workers are properly trained prior to performing duties in isolation. That way, lone workers can minimize risks independently and accurately perform their duties without the need for assistance. 

As mandated by OSHA, lone workers should also be outfitted with any personal protective equipment (PPE) and be trained on where to seek additional materials or information that they may need to perform their duties.
To ensure employers can confidently manage lone workers and employee schedules, Lion now offers a Work Schedules and Working Alone online course. This self-paced, human resources course gives EHS managers the knowledge they need to prevent accidents, design work schedules, and much more.

The new Work Schedules and Working Alone course is available now for $29.

Learn more about the course here or call (888) 546-6511 to sign up today.


Tags: alone, HR, Human Resources, schedule, scheduling, Technology, working alone

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