How technology plays a key role in protecting the wellbeing of lone workers in London and the UK
3rd March 2020
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Electronic systems can definitely do a lot to improve the safety of lone workers in the UK. However, it is important that they are viewed only as part of a general lone worker strategy and not as a solution on their own.

The first steps that need to be carried out to produce a practical lone worker strategy are:

  • Safety policy: A personal safety policy is a statement of intent that outlines what actions a business or organisation will undertake to fulfill its legal obligations towards managing safety risks to its staff. It gives a framework from which guidelines and procedures can be developed.
  • Carry out a risk assessment in order to identify the dangers and risks involved in the tasks the lone workers usually undertake.
  • Take action to either remove any identified risk by eliminating the associated task, or introduce procedures and systems that will lower the risk until the level of residual risk is deemed acceptable.


Once risk assessments have been carried out and guidelines and procedures are put in place to decrease any identified risk, the residual risk needs to be addressed. This is the moment to consider any training or technology. If a manager or employer introduces a new technical system or training for the members of the staff, without going through the other steps first, they could be found liable in case an incident occurred, for not accepting that their work systems were unsafe.

No matter how thorough a business or organisation’s risk assessments are and how well designed their guidelines and procedures, risk can very rarely be completely eliminated when dealing with the public and their workers could still find themselves facing aggression or violence.  Thus, it’s important that they are provided with training in how to defuse aggression or escape from a violent incident.

If workers are taught how to recognise the early warning signs of an aggression, they can usually defuse the situation and prevent it from escalating into real violence.

Having lowered the risks and trained the relevant workers in how to defuse an aggressive episode, the manager or employer could think about introducing an alarm system if they still felt it is necessary. These systems can’t prevent a worker from getting involved in a violent or aggressive incident, nor can they help the worker to deal with such situations. However, they can alert other colleagues that there is an issue going on and guarantee that help can get to the worker in as short a time as possible. This can really make the difference to the outcome of a violent incident so they are well worth considering.


Selecting a lone worker system

There are a variety of tracing and tracking systems available, ranging from affordable, low tech systems which can easily be set up internally, to more complex hi-tech systems involving radios as well as mobile phones.

If you favour one particular system, go ahead and ask for a demonstration to see if it is available for you to trial. Find out if you can talk to another business or organisation that is already using this system. This can definitely provide you with valuable insight into the system’s pros and cons.

Once the system is implemented and working you need to assess it on a regular basis. You cannot afford to simply put it in place and then assume that everything will be working fine. Check that workers are happy and confident when using it. This is particularly relevant if you have a high turnover of staff, since new staff might show higher resistance since they were not in during the original decision-making process.

Technologies such as lone worker tracking devices can play an essential part in improving the personal safety of members of the staff but only if it’s introduced for the good reasons and as part of a general personal safety strategy.

About the Author

Iñigo Etxebeste

Member since: 31st January 2019

Iñigo is a London-based digital copywriter passionate about the new technologies and the online universe. He spends his time writing about the topics he loves, travelling as much as he can and playing...

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