Practical Steps to Improve Lone Worker Safety in the Manufacturing Industry

It wasn’t until recently that manufacturing companies started to prioritize lone worker safety. It’s not that these businesses don’t care. On the contrary, unlike the preconception of the unfeeling business owner, every manufacturer fears the thought of a work-related injury or accident.

Besides, any accident in the workplace can also have serious financial consequences. It can result in anxiety and resentment in the rest of the workforce, and these in turn can lead to markedly reduced productivity. The public may also see the company in a more negative light because of this accident, as there may be a suspicion that the manufacturing company executives didn’t do all they can to prevent such a tragedy.

These are the reasons why many manufacturing comply with (or more often go beyond) the legal requirements regarding workplace safety regulations. The unfortunate truth, however, is that most of the time these safety regulations don’t take the situation of lone workers into account. It’s not because they ignore the dangers to lone workers. It’s because coming up with effective security measures can be difficult for workers who work in isolation.

However, more manufacturers have taken steps to address the issue. Here are some of the more practical steps they’ve taken:

  1. Risk assessment. First and foremost, many manufacturing firms have formed teams to meticulously study the most likely hazards to pose threats to their lone workers. The most dangerous spots and situations are identified, and ways are devised to correct any potential problem.
  2. Policy development. Once the risks to lone workers have been pinpointed, a policy can be put in place to help safeguard their safety. Certain security measures may be established, and certain advanced technology can be used. Modern gadgets can be bought to help monitor lone workers, to enable them to report in to a monitoring center, and to have an alarm automatically sent to the monitors should there be any sort of trouble and the worker is unable to call for help themselves.
  3. Workforce training. When a policy for lone worker security is developed, the workforce must be trained to follow the guidelines set in the policy manual. Everyone should know what to do, and that’s especially true of the lone workers themselves. These workers should know and practice the steps to help them stay out of trouble when they’re working alone. They should also be trained to use any gadget that the company uses specifically for lone worker safety.
  4. Improving and Tweaking the System. If there’s an accident or even a near miss, lone workers must be encouraged to file a report on the incident. This isn’t about assigning blame. It’s about identifying any particular issue that may have led to the accident. Even if no one got hurt, close calls should also be reported.

The managers can’t improve a system or policy if they aren’t aware that something went wrong. That’s why lone workers must report any incident even if no one got hurt. A potential danger can be reevaluated and more effective measures can be taken up to mitigate the risk. The causes of the incident can include inadequate training for workers, unreliable communications gear, or even insufficient lighting in some areas. Whatever they are, solutions can be implemented to eliminate or minimize these potential risks.

Manufacturing workplaces can be rather dangerous places, and lone workers are especially vulnerable. If you manage your own manufacturing company, you owe it to your workers to make work safety a priority.