Within any organisation the responsibility to protect employee safety and wellbeing should be a given, but there are cost and productivity benefits to be realised too. Many different types of workers will become more productive and value their employer more if improvements to their safety standards are adopted. This responsibility should be naturally embedded and form part of an organisation’s goals and planning, as employee safety and security is paramount.
When planning, understanding the different risk profiles that staff may have needs to be taken into consideration. For example, the risks for a localized lone worker are different from those of an executive travelling the globe, and differ again for someone now working from home. These risks need to be assessed when analysing and implementing safety measures to protect employees.
Costs of an incident
Significant material costs associated with an incident can arise if the correct safety measures are not in place because management hasn’t taken a view on worker safety risks. In the UK, for example, cases where suitable processes and practices have not been implemented have seen organisations found guilty under the Corporate Manslaughter And Corporate Homicide Act. The act came into force in 2007 in the UK and can impose significant fines and imprisonment on guilty parties.
Safety consideration of employees aside, organisations have a brand reputation to build and maintain, a continuous process that can take years. When incidents do occur, the detrimental and immediate impact to brand awareness and reputation can be catastrophic where convictions for corporate manslaughter are made – or the employer has breached the terms of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Reputations can be destroyed overnight.
Other ‘knock on’ costs relating to staff being off work and the cost to back-fill and train, or costs from increased insurance premiums or disruptions to service delivery all tot up.
A possible solution
An app-based GPS monitoring system can accurately locate employees in known danger or be used to help advise them if they move into at-risk areas. If an employee is in the vicinity of known neighbourhood risks or an industrial accident, for example, the employer should be able to monitor the employee’s location and check their safety status. The organisation can also communicate with the employee to understand their situation and give advice, or organise physical help via emergency and security services if necessary.
Mass notification allows the administrators to quickly send potentially critical information via personalised messages, perhaps on entry to a given location. The lone workers can respond with their safety status, enabling the administrators to quickly identify anybody in need and provide further assistance. The messages can be sent to either a wide group of people, workers in a specific geographic area or individuals, with message response options that can be customised to the situation.
Legal perspective and benefits
Implementing a location-based monitoring system can provide benefits to employees and organisations alike. From a legal perspective, it can help employers meet their legal and moral duty of care obligation to employees, and if an incident was to occur, an efficient communication process is already ready in place to be used. Two-way communication not only helps workers feel supported but can more easily result in rescue.
Other benefits include reducing costs in areas of the organisation and, perhaps, increased productivity. A policy of supporting and protecting lone workers can help them feel more valued, and thereby increase employee loyalty. This result can reduce employee turnover and related costs including the cost of recruiting and training new starters. Investing in lone worker safety has a very clear ROI in a number of respects.
By avoiding an incident, the employer organisation will also have escaped financial costs through loss of time at work, business interruption and any penalties from not complying with legislation. Or, by minimising an incident’s impact, any financial costs and penalties are likely to be greatly reduced.
Intangible factors are harder to measure accurately but can have a significant impact through damaged or ruined brand reputation. Additionally, it’s generally accepted that workers who feel safer are happier, and happier workers tend to be more productive. Staff well-being is a major focus point for many employers. Improving staff safety, and being seen to do so, will help staff feel better about their employer and their work.
To conclude, organisations should have health and safety measures at the forefront of their goals and planning. The safety of employees affects many different parts of an organisation, not least the recruitment function within HR, brand reputation, the financial implications of an incident and, most importantly, the lone workers who need to be protected.
To discover how Vismo can be implemented into your organisation, visit: https://vismo.com/lone-worker/