In this guide, we will explore the essential types of training that all solo employees should have, as well as some must-have tools to put their training into practice.
Published 14 Jul 2023
Lone-working employees should feel confident, empowered, and safe as they work alone; giving them the knowledge and tools to protect themselves to do so is the key. That's where lone worker training comes in.
Providing robust lone-working training is one of the best ways that your organization can keep lone, remote, and isolated workers safe. Wondering which types of training your lone workers should have?
Of course, much of the training your lone workers need will depend on the type of work they do – for example, construction workers and utilities staff need different safety training than healthcare professionals do. Some workers must also have any necessary training credentials or certifications required to complete their work.
Even if your organization has already implemented a lone worker safety solution (such as SHEQSY by SafetyCulture), it is important to consider that it can take time for help to arrive. Providing lone workers with extensive safety training – and giving them all of the tools they need to protect themselves and prevent incidents – should also be a priority.
Here are six types of lone worker training to incorporate into your lone worker safety program and lone worker safety policy.
A safe system of work is a step-by-step set of procedures that must be carried out, in order to decrease health and safety risks.
According to Ireland’s Health and Safety Authority, a large proportion of incidents occur due to a lack of – or failures in – systems of work.
Your organization should aim to design systems of work that are well planned and organized, and that can be performed and maintained safely, without risks to health and wellbeing, as far as is reasonably practicable. In fact, this is usually required by law; in Australia, for example, employers must provide “safe ways of working” and “any information, training, instruction or supervision needed for safety.”
When designing safe systems of work for your lone workers, you should consider best practices, difficulties that could arise, and all of the potential risks and hazards. Ask yourself: What are the procedures that staff need to learn to get their work done safely? Which safety practices do they need to understand, memorize, and complete each time they work?
Then, you should develop a system of procedures, and detailed information about how they must be carried out. Systems of work should be documented in a lone worker policy for easy reference.
Of course, the next step is to train your employees on safe systems of work and make sure they understand them completely.
Providing in-person or online how-to training sessions, followed up with comprehension quizzes and skills testing is great place to start.
Usually, first-aid training is carried out so that individuals can help others around them if an emergency occurs. But when employees work alone, they are their own first line of defense.
Learning the basics of first-aid can help them take care of their own safety, in some situations, until help arrives.
Knowing how to ice injuries, apply tourniquets correctly, treat and dress wounds and burns, and how to stop themselves from choking are some of the potentially life-saving skills that all lone workers should have.
Developing the awareness to realize when they are feeling ill or unwell is also an important and teachable skill.
For these reasons, first-aid training is a wise investment to help keep your lone workers safe.
Dynamic risk assessment training is another simple but important type of training to provide to your lone workers.
A dynamic risk assessment is the continuous safety practice of quickly identifying and analyzing potential hazards and risks as they arise, removing them, and proceeding with work only once it is safe to do so. To perform dynamic risk assessments, workers should regularly observe and analyze high-risk or changing work environments and make quick, yet considered decisions.
In summary, to complete a dynamic risk assessment, a lone worker should:
Teaching your lone workers how to conduct dynamic risk assessments can save lives.
Workplace violence training is especially important for lone workers who work with or around members of the public. In-home healthcare professionals, social workers, real estate agents, and clerks at retail and convenience stores are a few examples of lone workers who must have this type of training.
Workplace violence prevention training can help equip your employees to deal with acts or threats of physical violence, intimidation, harassment, and other dangerous behaviors that members of the public could inflict on lone workers.
Some specific areas of workplace violence prevention training to consider are:
Establishing a safety check-in system – and teaching lone workers how and when to use the system – is one of the best ways that employers can establish regular contact with lone workers to ensure they are safe.
Since the traditional buddy system at work can be costly and inefficient, modern safety check-in systems typically rely on technology to check-in from afar.
Digital lone worker solutions, such as SHEQSY, make periodic safety check-ins for unlimited lone workers quick, easy, and automatic. Bluetooth devices (for discreet check-in) and handheld satellite devices (for no-service areas) are other common check-in solutions.
Safety check-in training for lone workers should involve why they need to check-in, how often they should check-in, and how to use any associated check-in tools, such as a lone worker safety app.
Perhaps the most important lone working training of all, lone workers (and management) must be trained on emergency procedures; that is, the exact steps they should take when incidents occur.
Emergency procedures should be unique to every organization. However, every organization that employs lone workers should have a lone worker solution in place, and train their workers on how to use it.
The ideal lone worker solution will have a panic button feature, which the lone worker can trigger quickly and easily in an emergency situation, alerting the organization that they require immediate assistance. Depending on the level of risk involved, the organization may choose to have emergency services dispatched immediately, or send a manager to check up on the worker in duress.
In addition, if lone workers fail to check-in, organizations should have a procedure in place. That’s because incidents can occur that may prevent lone workers from checking-in or calling for help (i.e. they could be injured, stuck in an enclosed space, or unconscious). With SHEQSY, when lone workers fail to check-in, managers can receive overtime alerts; and after a specified overtime has lapsed, the organization’s customizable emergency notification chain begins (duress notifications can be sent via email, SMS, and phone calls).
With SHEQSY, overtime and panic alerts can be monitored by your management team(s) or by a 24/7 professional security monitoring center. Watch this 90-second video to see how SHEQSY works, then sign up for your 30-day free trial.
In summary, lone workers must be trained on how to call for help in the event of an emergency – and understand that they are safeguarded even if they are physically unable to. Meanwhile, management teams must also be trained on how to respond and dispatch assistance to their employees.
Depending on the types of work your employees carry out – as well as the hazards and risks their work environments could present – your organization may need to offer other types of lone worker training.
Other trainings to consider include:
Lone working training is just one of the many elements you should consider to keep your lone workers safe.
As a comprehensive lone worker safety and management solution, the SHEQSY app (for iOS & Android) protects employees in real-time with innovative safety features (like quick panic activation, periodic check-in and overtime alerts) and integrates with a range of lone worker devices to suit every working situation. From the SHEQSY Dashboard, management teams can manage, monitor, and report on lone workers' activities.
SHEQSY's features include:
"The application is used to support and protect our workforce as they are standalone workers working different hours of the night. The quick action response panic alarm is excellent and a safeguard for my team. The SHEQSY application has been implemented in two of my business operations and is a vital part of the health and safety of our employees." - Pahl G., Managing Director (Source: Capterra)
Maddy is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. She has worked as a digital marketer and copywriter in the risk management industry for more than a decade. When she’s not writing for SafetyCulture, Maddy runs a popular travel and food blog and enjoys snowboarding, practicing yoga, hiking, and spending time exploring outdoors.
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