All of the UK’s 6 million lone workers face risk every day, whether they are driving long distances to make deliveries, operating machinery on construction sites or delivering high-quality care to service users. But what about those lone workers who operate out of hours, often supporting businesses with janitorial, cleaning or maintenance work? Support staff across many industries can find themselves working out of hours and can be exposed to the additional risk of those working conditions.
The TUC (Trade Unions Congress) found that the UK has 3.1 million workers regularly working night shifts, an increase of 5% in the last five years.
For those workers doing night shifts or working out of hours, the risks are plentiful - working while the majority of people are asleep or while your colleagues are elsewhere increases the risk of incident and means that you are less likely to be detected when something has gone wrong.
Greater feelings of isolation, potential mental strain and increased stress
Effects of fatigue on work performance, mental accuity and wellbeing
Lack of support in the event of an incident, potential slower response from necessary services
Low-light areas, potentially resulting in accident and injury; slips, trips and falls from height
Lone workers doing night shifts or operating out of hours are placed under additional strain, fatigue, and pressure as a result of working out of hours. Kevin Friery, clinical director at Workplace Wellness said, “As an employer if you say you’re going to have night workers then you need to say you’re going to have better occupational health screening, better on-site medics and better health education to help people develop healthy lifestyles.”
Organisations employing lone workers in out of hours roles have a legal responsibility to safeguard their employees and accounting for the additional risks and pressures that are placed on those people working out of hours. Fatigue, for example, is one of the primary consequences of out of hours work, and according to the HSE, “Fatigue has also been implicated in 20% of accidents on major roads and is said to cost the UK £115 - £240 million per year in terms of work accidents alone.” Employees also share the responsibility of handling and putting in measures to protect against the adverse consequences of out of hours work.
Conduct specific risk assessments for work done out of hours. The reality is that even if a role is also performed during the day, working out of hours or overnight presents additional risks that should be accounted for and controlled.
Think of nurses or social care workers delivering care overnight - the additional strain of working while fatigued means that extra measures should be taken to help those people work effectively. Longer breaks, job design, buddying up and extra provision for mental health resources are all measures you could consider when it comes to helping your out of hours lone workers.
Working late at night and in isolation means that lone workers are especially vulnerable to risk and to going unnoticed if something does happen. Our lone worker safety solution ensures that staff can work confidently when alone and that if an employee fails to check-in, an alert will be triggered and someone will be informed and ready to help.
Robust management tools
Safepoint helps you meet health and safety requirements and legally safeguard your organisation for the future. Manage your lone workers simply and effectively, and make informed safety decisions in real-time.
Smart, effective protection
Safepoint offers smart protection for lone workers in the field. Your employees can request help in case of emergency and the app alerts Guardians in the event a task duration expires. Your lone workers are safeguarded wherever they are.
Visibility and real-time updates
Safepoint shares vital safety information including GPS location, battery life and signal strength, instantly keeping Guardians and lone workers updated. Data is only shared during an active task so lone worker privacy is maintained.
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