Regardless of the industry you work in, it is you and your employer’s responsibility to make sure that you remain safe at work. It is probably even more important if you are a lone worker or work away because you may be exposed to even more personal safety risks. Here are four tips to keep safe if you are working away or alone.
Personal Safety Devices
Personal alarms are devices that allow employees to raise an alarm if they feel at all unsafe or feel that they are at risk in any way. These devices are usually supplied and monitored by a security company who, when the alarm is activated, will contact those named as first responders for the organization you work for. In some cases (depending on how the contract has been set up), the security company will immediately attend the location of the activated device. Many alarms can also set off a high-pitched sound when activated, which should deter or frighten anyone that may be trying to harm or intimidate you.
If you are a lone worker and do not already have a personal alarm, speak to your employer, and if you are self-employed but don’t have one, look into getting one as soon as possible.
If you live in a state where it is legal to carry a firearm, and you feel comfortable doing so, it’s something worth considering. You may need a concealed carry permit, so make sure that you have all the necessary licenses and paperwork before proceeding. Whether working from home or further afield, a firearm will give you peace of mind that you have the means to defend yourself should you feel it necessary.
Keep in Touch with Your Employers and Family Members
Whether working away or alone, communication is key. Most employers will ask you to check in first thing in the morning and last thing at night, but if they currently don’t, it may be worthwhile suggesting it to them.
If working away, give your family an itinerary of your whereabouts, particularly if you expect to be in multiple locations during your trip. Hotel names and addresses, as well as details of any clients you are meeting, is a good way to keep them abreast of your whereabouts and will make it easier for them to get hold of you should they need to.
If you are visiting a location you know nothing about, do some research and familiarize yourself with the local area and areas that may be worth avoiding. Where possible, use taxi cabs to get around in the evenings and avoid walking alone at night. If working away involves air travel, you should also leave a list of your flight times, airline, and flight numbers with both employers and family. It’s a good way for your movements to be traced if needed.
Be Informed and Don’t Take Risks
Taking unnecessary risks can lead to accidents or compromise your safety, so be sensible and don’t do anything that could put you in a compromising situation.
If, for example, your job requires you to spend a lot of time driving, have regular breaks, and stick to a safe speed limit. You should also avoid alcohol the night before, and be sure to eat regularly and stay hydrated. Although most mobile phones have a GPS, it’s always a good idea to have a look at your route in advance and get to know any roads that are known to be particularly hazardous.
If you are working from a new location, familiarize yourself with the fire exits and make sure you know your escape routes should you need them. If you work in a field that involves ongoing construction, avoid going on-site alone. If unavoidable, be sure to wear the necessary PPE gear to ensure you are well protected – it could save your life.
Trust Your Instincts
Trusting your instincts can play a huge part in helping you to stay safe. If you feel remotely uncomfortable or you feel that your safety may be comprised but don’t know why– trust your gut.
Should there ever be an incident where you feel unsafe, it’s a good idea to agree on safe words with colleagues or family in advance so that you can ring them and they will know you need help. For example, if you work in a sales cabin, you may ring your site management team and ask them to bring over some red sales flags. Using this pre-agreed phrase will let them know that something is wrong but won’t let the person in question know that you have called for help.
Although incidents such as these don’t happen often, it is important to keep them to a minimum and do your best to protect yourself.