I was chatting to a colleague recently who runs her own training business and she told me about an unfortunate incident that occurred to her after finishing a training course. The delegates had all left and she had packed up all her training materials ready to leave. She went to use the loo before setting off home, but as she went to leave, the door handle of the room broke; it came off in her hand - she was stuck inside and no-one knew she was still there…
The course was being run in-house for a local employer, but the training room and toilet facilities were in a separate building and cut off from the rest of the offices. She didn’t know if anyone realised that she was still there and had no means of contacting anyone (her phone was in her handbag in the training room). After about 20 minutes of shouting loudly and banging the door without any response, she got worried that no-one had heard her and so she plucked up courage to apply a swift “Kung-Fu style” kick to knock the door open.
Much to her surprise and relief it worked, and she then went to see if she could find someone to apologise for damaging the door. Fortunately, she was OK and the client was most apologetic, but it highlighted two specific areas of concern:
1. That the toilet had been fitted out for use by disabled employees, but did not had an assistance alarm fitted; and
2. My colleague realised that she hadn’t told anyone else where she was working that day – not another colleague or any members of her family.
So, the moral of this tale is if you or your employees work off-site on client premises, consider your/ their safety as a lone-worker and put in place actions to ensure that you know where the employee is supposed to be and that if they don’t let you know that they are ok in a pre-arranged manner, that you can raise the alarm.
Providing safety alarms or tracking devices may be something you consider as a precautionary measure. If you are at all concerned about risks associated with lone working have a look at the HSE website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/workers/lone.htm
and the Suzy Lamplugh Trust at https://www.suzylamplugh.org/
for advice on actions you can take to minimise the risk.