How Safepoint is protecting lone workers in rural settings
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What are the risks?
Whilst agriculture is often touted as one of the most dangerous sectors in the UK, less attention is paid to environmental and conservation work, which have some vitally important similarities. For example, both industries run a high risk for the most common causes of workplace death: falls from a height, and being struck by a moving vehicle or object. Moreover, workers in these fields are, by their nature, more likely to work alone in remote, hard to access areas that make communication difficult.
How can you protect your lone working staff?
All organisations have responsibilities to their full time, part-time and (to an extent) volunteer workforce. What's more, many people who work within this field may be classed as ‘lone workers’, which simply refers to ’someone who works by themselves without close or direct supervision’. Companies have a legal duty of care to give all their staff reasonable supervision and protection, even if they are working in remote locations.
To start protecting your staff, you will need to create a robust risk assessment. When employing lone workers in rural areas, pay particular attention to their unique situations. Not only are these staff more difficult to reach, but they may be working at heights, or on uneven ground, they may be working with members of the public, or they may be working with animals. Take all these into account and speak to your staff about how to avoid or mitigate these risks.
Of course, some risks can not be avoided. A ranger cannot stop working in uneven ground, a conservationist cannot stop working with animals, and a tree surgeon cannot stop working at height. That’s why organisations must provide suitable supervision and communication should anything go wrong.
In our experience, many companies try to use a walkie-talkie or SMS-based check-in system but unfortunately, there are fundamental flaws with these choices. Not only can human error be a huge issue in these situations, but these manual systems can also fail if someone is knocked unconscious, is separated from their device, or is too injured to call for help. There is also no way to track these devices, nor is it easy for people to accurately describe where they are without access to house numbers or street names.
What is Safepoint and how can it help?
Safepoint is a solution for people who work in remote or high-risk areas, particularly lone workers. With their app, staff can quickly sync their daily tasks with their supervisors as well as a team of fully-accredited, expert responders. If a staff member runs into trouble or is unresponsive, an emergency alert is sent out, as well as their real-time location and safety data.
Safepoint has been designed to be incredibly easy to use but is packed full of clever behind-the-scenes features. For instance, Safepoint uses what3words technology, so that responders can easily pinpoint workers in remote locations (with up to 3m of accuracy). Safepoint also uses fall detection and time-based alerts. If connectivity is an issue, Safepoint can operate on the lowest levels of signal and data and, if a staff member goes into a complete black-spot, their first responders can still use historical data to map the user’s location.
Because of Safepoint’s unique ability to protect workers in rural locations, it was made an official partner of the AF group, the UK’s Leading farmer-owned buying group. Speaking of the new partnership, Michael Simnett, Communications Projects Lead for the AF Group, says:
“We have been looking for a system that gives farm owners and farm managers the ability to look out for the welfare of their staff, especially during tasks undertaken whilst working alone. Mental health and farm safety are key areas within the farming industry with owners looking out for the wellbeing of their staff. The Safepoint system is very user friendly, easy to navigate and a perfect for all types of memberships of our AF members”.
How is Safepoint protecting lone workers and high-risk staff?
Right now, Safepoint is protecting staff across the UK in a range of sectors. They are not only working with agricultural and environmental companies but also in construction, renewable energy, social care, utilities, property management and more.
What’s more, Safepoint is not just working with large companies but is also protecting independent workers. Tim Kitson is a Norfolk based potato adviser who started using Safepoint after suffering a serious injury on a farm. Mr Kitson was walking across a platform in a potato store when it gave way last autumn. He fell onto the concrete floor, breaking his skull, wrist and thigh. He was only able to access help after crawling out of the store and across a field, where he was able to shout out to another farmworker. Now Tim is one of the many rural workers protected by the Safepoint system.
If you’d like to try Safepoint yourself, you can sign up for a 14 day, no credit card required free trial through their website. In just a few minutes you can create a new account and start protecting your entire team. If you have any questions, you can also call Safepoint on 0808 178 0102.
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