The long, dry summer has drawn to a close and the clocks will soon be going back. With fewer daylight hours and colder, wetter weather conditions, organisations up and down the country are considering the changing risks their workers will face through the winter months and how they can best support them.
SoloProtect, a market-leading provider of lone worker safety solutions, looks at the risks faced by lone or remote workers in winter and how technology can be used to mitigate those risks and support colleague safety and wellbeing …
In practical terms, the dark reduces visibility which can make working outside or travelling more challenging. This can lead to an increased number of accidents, either with machinery or on the road, for example. In fact, statistics from RoSPA show a significant spike in the number of people who are killed or seriously injured on the road after the clocks go back and almost a third of people killed on the road are those who are driving for work.
Mental health impacts
For many of us, the dark can also exacerbate feelings of nervousness and can induce stress or loneliness, impacting both physical and mental health. This is particularly pertinent for those who work and/or live alone. Moreover, according to the NHS, around 2 million people in the UK are thought to be affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Extreme weather conditions and slippery surfaces
Aside from the dark, winter brings a host of extreme weather conditions, from snow and ice to freezing rain and wind. This, combined with things such as wet leaves, can create a slip hazard for pedestrians and drivers. HSE note that slip and trip accidents increase during the Autumn and Winter months.
Finally, the cold can significantly affect our ability to perform physical or cognitive tasks. Just think how much more difficult it is to load a lorry or patrol a car park in freezing temperatures. Cold hands can make handling machinery more difficult too and we’re more likely to cut corners to finish the job quickly and get inside to warm up, leading to an increase in the number of accidents.
How technology help to mitigate the risks
A lone worker safety device or app helps workers to go about their roles with confidence, undeterred by anxiety; they have peace of mind that help will be available to them at the push of a button should they need it.
Granted, it isn’t the same as working alongside others. However, it does reassure lone workers that they won’t be “alone” if an incident occurs e.g. a slip, trip or fall, or an encounter with someone violent or aggressive.
SoloProtect’s new, intuitive touchscreen lone worker devices can provide the ideal safety solution for winter working. Here are some of the reasons why:
- They can be used in sub-zero temperatures
- Their IP67 rating means they’re both dust and waterproof. Weather is no obstacle.
- The touchscreen can illuminate like a mobile phone which makes the devices very clear to use, even in complete darkness.
- For those of us who suffer from cold hands, the large Red Alert button is super easy to press – even while wearing thick gloves.
- The Incapacitation Alert (often known as Man Down) function can detect a slip, trip or fall – a lifesaver if a user slips in the dark when no one is around to see the incident and provide support.
- Should a worker enter a situation where there’s an anticipated safety risk e.g. closing up a retail store in the dark after a spate of recent attacks, they can activate a Ready2Talk call and a SoloProtect operator will chaperone them until they’ve confirmed they’re safe.
This level of support provides undeniable benefits to lone or remote workers all year round but particularly in the winter months.
If you’re looking to introduce a lone worker safety solution or expand your current package, take a look at our helpful business case for investment. This will help you to clearly explain the financial, operational, safety, well-being, and HR benefits to important stakeholders within your organisation.
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