Lone workers like travelling mortgage and banking lenders are more at risk and vulnerable to violence and assault as they are often working on their own. This can have an impact on their mental health and wellbeing with a cascading affect to workplace stress and effectiveness. Employers have a duty of care to ensure they are doing all they can to equipment their teams with appropriate OHS measures.
What is lone working?
The term lone working applies to those who work for all or part of the day on their own. This could be out in their field or own their own in a fixed location away from co-workers and managers. It’s a term often used when speaking about occupational health and safety.
You can find lone working jobs in a considerable number of industries including: healthcare, mobile lending and banking, real estate and allied health.
The most common hazards encountered by lone workers include mortgage brokers and bank lenders:
- Accidents or emergencies arising out of the work and poor access to first aid or emergency assistance.
- Insufficient provision of rest, hygiene and employee welfare facilities like rest and toiletry facilities.
- Exposure to physical violence or threats from clients, members of the public and/or intruders.
- Suddenly feeling ill.
- Increased risk to developing poor mental health.
- Working alone and the effects on mental health.
- Work-related mental health conditions like working alone take a huge toll on worker health and productivity, with the negative impact felt by individuals themselves, their families, and colleagues.
- Work pressure, work related harassment or bullying, and exposure to workplace or occupational violence are all significant causes of work-related mental health conditions.
Heads up who was developed by Beyond Blue have produced a report on worker wellbeing highlighting that; One in five Australians (21%) have taken time off work in the past 12 months because they felt stressed, anxious, depressed or mentally unhealthy. This statistic is more than twice as high (46%) among those who consider their workplace mentally unhealthy.
Rules to lone working and an employer’s legal obligations
Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 employers are legally responsible for protecting workers and other persons against harm to their health, safety and welfare through the elimination or minimisation of risks arising from work.
Though employees have such obligations under law, lone workers can be easily forgotten, and their safety and the security of their work environment can be disregarded, as they are somewhat separated from the rest of the workforce.
Similarly, those working alone are less able to call for help when they need it. They could be experiencing feelings of being threatened, burgled or otherwise made to feel unsafe and without the appropriate measures in place there is little an employee can do other than wait for the situation hopefully de-escalate.
Organisations must introduce measures and technology in order to counteract these vulnerabilities in order to ensure their worker feels confident to get on with their job.
Working alone procedures & conducting a lone worker risk assessment
All mortgage and banking employers have a duty of care to protect their workers by making sure they are safeguarded to the best of their ability. One way to ensure their safety is upheld is by performing a risk assessment before entering any new premise or clients home. By conducting this evaluation in every new environment ensures that employees working in home/community settings are safe and potential risks are mitigated as much as possible prior to meeting any new clientele.
For the safety of all lone workers including mobile lenders and bankers, it is crucial that all new clients be carefully screened prior to commencement of the home visit to determine risks to the staff.
This thorough review involves not only a detailed understanding of the client, including any known history of aggression and emotional or psychological concerns, but also an assessment of the place at which you are meeting, which could have risks of animals, misused items or aggressive or defensive family members.
Increasing lone worker safety with a personal alarm safety device
MePACS understands that worker safety should be the number one priority for all workplaces who employ travelling lone workers like mortgage and lending brokers. It is ultimately the duty of care for all employers to ensure their staff have the confidence to do their job and feel safe and supported.
MePACS personal lone worker alarms offer a 24/7 emergency response service, which is ideal for lone workers, people working in the community, those who are isolated, work remotely or work at night.
Offering a fully monitored service responded to by trained professionals based in Australia, so you can be assured that when assistance is required, you or your team can get the right help fast to ensure lone worker safety is never compromised.
In the event of an accident, violence, assault, fire or even medical emergency for you or a client, once the alarm is pressed MePACS will contact you within 2-minutes to ascertain what help you require and we will then contact either a manager, security team or emergency services. We will also keep in contact with you during a duress situation until we know help has arrived.
MePACS lone worker duress safety alarm features:
MePACS duress alarm systems have the following features which provide reassurance and confidence for both the employer and their lone working teams:
- Alarms are easy to use
- One button quick activation
- Use the 4G mobile network
- Automatic fall detection
- Two-way communication via the alarm
- Mobile duress alarms are splash proof
- GPS locator
- Includes all calls and data for one set monthly fee
MePACS is a trusted lone worker alarm provider by thousands of lone workers
- 80% of clients with a MePACS duress alarm said they feel safer at work
- Over 90% of MePACS duress clients say they feel more supported by their organisation by offering them a lone worker alarm
- Over 43,000 clients Australia wide
- Average 4.5-star rating by over 350 clients
Employers have a duty of care to ensure that ALL their staff are safe whilst at work. Contact MePACS on 1800 685 329 or visit www.mepacs.com.au/duress.