Identifying Lone Workers: When Lone Doesn’t Mean Alone—Indoors
Lone workers are not just prone to risks while driving or working in remote locations—indoor workspaces challenge the safety of your employees more often than you’d expect.
Many do not consider employees who work inside facilities as “lone workers.” Just because workers are stationed within a specific structure with team members doesn’t mean they don’t work alone—tasks often pull crew members out of sight and sound of others. These employees immediately become isolated from their colleagues, risking their lives if an incident occurs.
To get the job done, your employees work against the clock—often in high-risk, high-stress environments that require long hours. Let’s explore some of the most dangerous indoor situations facing your employees and how you can ensure their safety.
Working Indoors—Location. Location. Location.
Warehouses and production plants are noisy and fast-paced, with many moving parts. Hospitals, research labs, psychiatric centers and correctional facilities host individuals who may display unpredictable behaviours.Manufacturing facilities, warehouses and indoor construction sites can be some of the most dangerous places to work in the world. And some, power plants, grain terminals, and wastewater treatment facilities can even take your employees underground.
You have safety policies in place for your teams, but are you accounting for all of the potential risks your employees face indoors?
Hazards Lone Workers Face Indoors
Regardless of where an employee is located indoors—workers in a variety of industries can be challenged by the equipment and materials used to complete their work.
From researchers to reclamation technicians, a laboratory can pose just as many risks as an outdoor site. Engineers, assemblers and compounders face the dangers of working with and near heavy-duty machinery, conveyor belts, combustible liquids and spray booths.
Statistically, the construction industry is the most dangerous industry to work in globally. Foreman and workers face being struck by falling objects, slips, trips and falls, crush injuries, dust and chemical inhalation every day. In 2013, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the United States reported 20percent of occupational fatalities were in construction, and the UK’s Health & Safety Executive reported 31 percent of workplace fatalities were also construction-related.
Chemists, factory line staff and distributors can be prone to chemical dangers, working with radioactive materials and biological agents. Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the UK reports in 2013 and 2014 manufacturing accounted for around 10 percent of fatalities in the British workforce, with nearly one in five employees reporting non-fatal injuries.
From homecare nurses to porters escorting patients to mental health and addictions personnel—medical professionals never know when they will encounter a dangerous situation indoors. For 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in the United States reported an increase of nearly 100 additional healthcare and social assistance worker-related fatalities.
Wastewater specialists and utilities workers often operate indoors in treatment plants and power plants where their work can even take them underground. From potential drowning to injury by high voltage, these environments are unpredictable are isolated.
Thousands of incidents occur annually that put employees on disability, sometimes short-term and often for life— are you doing everything possible to keep your employees safe indoors?
Get up to date on workplace safety legislation, technology and best practices in our latest eBook, “The Modern Safety Director’s Guide to Employee Safety Monitoring.”
Stay tuned as we explore Lone Workers Outdoors, the third post of six in this series, coming soon. Subscribe using the form on the right so you never miss a post!