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When we think about lone workers, we usually associate them with remote outdoor locations or driving long distances alone. In reality however, indoor workspaces can challenge the safety of your employees more often than you might think.

Workers may be stationed inside a facility with other team members but this doesn’t mean they don’t work alone, because tasks may pull them out of sight and sound of others. These employees then become isolated from their colleagues, and at greater risk if an incident occurs.

Identifying Indoor Lone Worker Situations

As more of us return to work, it’s a good idea to take a step back and think about how an indoor worker could be categorized as lone. Likely scenarios include, for example, a maintenance worker who is repairing machinery after the rest of the facility has closed down. 

Indoor Lone Worker Safety Hazards

Indoor workers in a variety of industries can be challenged by the equipment and materials used to complete their work, as well as other job-related situations. 

Statistically, the Construction industry is the most dangerous industry to work in globally. Foremen and workers face being struck by falling objects, slips, trips and falls, crush injuries, and dust and chemical inhalation. In 2020, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics showed 21% of occupational fatalities had occurred in Construction, while in the UK the rate of fatal injury in the Construction sector was around 4 times as high as the average rate across all industries.

In terms of Manufacturing, chemists, factory line staff, and distributors can all be prone to chemical dangers, working with radioactive materials and biological agents. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the UK reported that, in 2020/21, Manufacturing accounted for around 15 per cent of fatalities in the British workforce, on top of which there were 57,000 non-fatal injuries reported.

Risks to manufacturing workers include accidents when machinery hasn’t been totally disconnected, hasn’t been well maintained, or malfunctions; when handling materials on assembly lines, whether raw or finished; when operating heavy machinery or forklifts; and more. 

Wastewater specialists and utilities workers often operate indoors in treatment plants and power plants where their work can take them underground. From potential drowning to injury by high voltage, these environments are unpredictable and isolated, with electrical-related incidents serving as the prime cause of workplace fatalities for people employed in the utilities and public works fields. The reality is that in the UK alone, more than 1,000 people are injured by electrical hazards at work each year, with 30 of them dying as a result. 

Other workers facing high risks when alone include those who work in prisons or other public safety positions. Statistics have shown prison officers deal with fights among inmates, as well as being harassed and even physically injured. According to statista.com, in England and Wales, more than 8,000 assaults on prison staff occurred in 2020, dropping from a high of 10,000 in 2018.

Consider Your Organization’s Lone Worker Safety Solutions

Thousands of incidents occur annually that put employees on sick leave, sometimes short-term but often for life. So, is your business doing everything possible to keep its vulnerable employees safe indoors? There are a range of connected safety solutions that can help monitor employee safety in general, and lone worker safety in particular.

Find out how our watchdog solution offers an easy-to-use check in system that doesn’t distract from the job but can keep workers safer when they are on their own. Visit https://www.wearable.technology/eleksen-watchdog/ or contact Lawrence Bryon on 01455 563 000, lawrence.bryon@wearable.technology.