Informa Markets

Author Bio ▼

Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
June 17, 2016

Get the SHP newsletter

Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources

Five minutes with lone worker expert Rachel Peters

rachel peters

Ahead of SHExpo 2016, where she will be talking in the Lone Worker Theatre about avoiding the common pitfalls when introducing a lone worker solution, Rachel Peters talks to SHP about the challenges of managing lone workers and the mistakes we should all avoid.



What are the main challenges of managing lone workers?

At Sovereign we have such a diversity in the type of lone workers we have, from those who work alone daily, to others who might only work alone once a month, front facing staff who interactive with members of the public to those who work alone in the office or in void properties.  This is spread over a geography which stretches from Devon to West Berkshire and Oxford to Dorset.  This is quite difficult to manage, particularly when monitoring the use of a lone working device such as Identicom, as low usage doesn’t necessary mean that they are not using the device when they need to.

What should people be aware of before introducing a lone worker solution?

That they should not be used as a standalone solution for lone working but as part of a bigger lone working procedure or policy.  Take the time to think about how you plan to roll out the device to the business, perhaps targeting your higher risk areas first and ensure that you get the managers on board and implementing the device with the users.

Are there any common mistakes people could avoid, and how?

There are loads of mistakes that can be made when implementing something new or different and we were certainly guilty of making a few of those along the way, our biggest one being our keenness to get the device out that we didn’t spend enough time priming the line managers who were then expected to manage the lone workers with these devices.  We didn’t do enough communication to our business before we started speaking with the lone workers and this showed in the initial uptake and use of the devices.

How do you successfully plan and implement this across your business?

It is still a work in progress and we are constantly striving to improve the way the device works for the business and we meet regularly with Solo Protect to discuss how they can support us in this.  However, you’ll have to come along to the session to see how we have learnt from our mistakes and what we have done to improve the perception and use of the lone worker solution and generally improve lone worker safety at Sovereign.

How does Sovereign Housing successfully manage lone workers?

We have many controls in the management of our lone workers, including lone working safety guidance, conflict management and personal safety training, provision of a mobile phone and Solo Protect Identicom alongside a robust process for reporting incidents and identifying properties or areas where there is risk of violence or verbal abuse and having arrangements in place to manage these.  We are fortunate that despite the challenges posed by being a social housing landlord we have very few lone working incidents and most of our red alerts have been raised as a monitoring tool rather than because of a serious need of assistance.

Why are events such as the Safety and Health Expo so vital to industry professionals, such as yourself?

I always find this event a good opportunity to see what is new and innovative but also to review best practice from other companies and see how we can improve our safety arrangements at Sovereign.  It is hugely important for me  professionally, as it allows me to attend seminars and workshops and learn something new or get a different perspective on things.  All of which is vital to my development as a graduate IOSH member and helps me maintain my CPD.

Rachel has just completed a PGC in Occupational Health and Safety Management and has been working to develop a brand new safety management system within Sovereign over the last 18 months.

There’s still time to register to attend SHExpo 2016. Click here to get your

entry to the largest collection of  health and safety solutions in the world under one roof.

Related Topics

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments