Effect of Lone Worker protection on employee performance

Effect of Lone Worker protection on employee performance

Keeping your employees safe because the law says so is one thing; being able to justify it based on employee productivity is another.  Is it possible to do so?

Lone workers, mobile workers or remote workers, whatever you call them, essentially perform a role which exposes them to a greater chance of harm than if they were in your own premises.

This is self-evident, provided of course you have gone through the process of making as sure as you can they are safe within.  That you have done so will also be self-evident to your employees and allow them to get on with their jobs without worrying too much about their safety.  On its own this removes one potential source of non-productivity.

We tend to accept that getting to or from a secure place of work following a less safe period while journeying by foot, underground, aeroplane, train, bus or car is a relief, subconscious or otherwise.

If this feeling of safety contributes to productivity then the opposite must also be true.  In the case of Lone Workers, the travelling is unlikely to be to a place of safety but to a place where the situation may be unknown, and the employer cannot look after them in the same way.

If there is the constant niggling awareness of the possibility of physical harm, it must lead to a reduced level safety confidence.  Their performance compared with their colleague operating in a safe environment may well suffer.

This may well be balanced by the relative freedom of ‘getting away from the office’ but this in turn will be balanced by the uncertainty of knocking on a door with no knowledge of the reception waiting behind it.  Let alone the uncertainty of other events which are unpredictable and unexpected.

If there is a lower level of engagement with the organization and its requirements there is likely to be increased employee turnover as Lone Working employers look for a safer job.

15 years ago, talking to Lone Workers and their employers was very different to today’s conversations.   Then, there were certain obvious ways in which Lone Workers justified their role, for example:

  • I’m a man, I can look after myself
  • I’ve not really thought about it
  • Oh well, it’s a dangerous job but someone’s got to do it
  • It’s never happened to me, so it probably won’t

None of these are usual today in an organisation which has thought about its responsibilities to both its Lone Workers and its own business; and done something about it.  The results may be very different from one organisation to another but the fact of demonstrating a commitment to Lone Worker safety does make a good start to improving their morale and therefore their productivity.

Next time I will look at what are the key actions an employer needs to take to achieve this level of confidence in their ability to protect their Lone Workers.


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