This is to effectively protect both your lone workers and your investment.
Sarah Haigh from e.surv surveyors shares some of her secrets with us on how they achieved a consistently good level of usage since the start and what they plan to do going forward…
When we started our project to implement lone worker devices over two years ago, I knew from the start that the level of involvement staff had in the project would affect how they felt about using devices and their attitude to personal safety. This is why we ensured that staff had say in the project and plenty of opportunities to give feedback. We also wanted staff to be able to report areas of concern and the risks they encountered in their roles.
Longstanding staff remembered previous lone worker solutions that hadn’t worked so had some concerns. We decided that trialing devices would be the best way to start. We therefore, gave devices to around 5% of the workforce, both experienced and new surveyors in rural and urban settings. The trial proved to be a success and we moved forward with implementation.
We used what we learned from consultations with staff to prepare Q&A sheets ahead of the device training sessions. No training session was complete until all attendees were comfortable with the device’s features and how to use them. Our surveyors are aware that carrying a lone worker device has its limitations. However, they feel more comfortable knowing that help can be summoned faster, should they need it.
“Being open and honest in our intentions has definitely gained us the trust of our surveyors and has contributed to most of them being quite happy with using their devices.”
Of course, not everybody was completely comfortable with the thought of using the devices. We had some staff who were concerned with the ‘big brother’ aspect of the devices (GPS). However, once we explained that the devices doesn’t track them, rather transmit their last known location they felt better. Being open and honest in our intentions has definitely gained us the trust of our surveyors. It has also contributed to most of them being quite happy with using their devices now – in fact, most wouldn’t want to be without!
Monitoring the usage of devices has been important to us since the beginning of the project as we want to ensure that staff keep up the good usage and are properly committing to their side of our lone worker agreement. This whole project was about building a closer relationship between us and our remote lone workers and improving the overall safety culture. That takes effort from both sides, both the management team and employees. We would never knowingly let our surveyors enter a risky situation. In return we expect them to never put themselves at risk by not using their devices.
In the early days of usage we had a couple of lone workers who felt they didn’t need a device. These lone workers then found themselves in situations where they wished they had been carrying a device. This showed us how essential it was to have ALL of our workforce carrying devices, all of the time. Even though they might feel like it’s a bit of an inconvenience at first.
With that in mind, and wanting to reach our goal of 100% usage, we took the decision to introduce a ‘lone worker pledge’. The pledge is a contract between us and each employee outlining the commitments on either side. It aims to make it clear that device usage is not optional and disciplinary action may take place against those who don’t comply.
We are extremely proud that we achieved an average of 86% compliance across 2016, but of course, we’re striving for 100% this year.
See what else Sarah had to say on implementing a lone worker solution and the lessons they learned.