Healthcare Lone Worker Safety12 Sep 2020 - Flaaim
Working alone is not unlawful, but an employer is required by the law to carry out a risk assessment audit in his or her organization before deploying a lone worker to the workstation. A lone worker is a worker who works without supervision or direct monitoring by the seniors. They do not have a working companion. Some lone health workers include lab technicians, clinic receptionists, a nurse on night duty, public health nurses and doctors visiting patients’ homes. Employees, on the other hand, are bound to adhere to specific rules and regulations while discharging their duties. Some of the safety regulations that employees need to note are as follows.
- Health workers should use tools and other equipment as per their training, and no one should use a piece of equipment without proper training.
- No worker should get intoxicated while on duty to the point of endangering their lives and any other employee or client who comes in contact with them.
- Workers should refrain from such conduct which could lead to bodily harm or fatal in the worst case.
- Health workers need to inspect the equipment they work with before commencing work and report any defects to the equipment.
It is lawful for employers to perform a one worker safety assessment before deploying any healthcare worker to work alone. Some of the things to look for are as follows.
- Assess the risk of violence in a workstation
- Whether it is risky for a disabled, pregnant or youthful worker to work alone
- If there is a possibility of risk exposure to trainees and interns than to other employees
- Assess whether there is a risk of communication barrier within the workstation where you plan to deploy a lone worker.
- Identify other issues that could pose a risk a health worker like working on a night-shift in a place faced with multiple cases of criminal activities.
After carrying out a risk assessment, the management must come up with mechanisms to ensure safety for the lone workers. It is not always possible to deploy a lone worker, and comprehensive policy should be put in place to govern one worker safety. Some of the measures that employers and healthcare management in consultation with employees can have in place are as follows.
- Hostile patients or relatives- Healthcare workers may come into contact with aggressive patients and relatives. In mitigating hostility, management needs to install panic buttons, exit doors and centrally located consultation rooms with viewing panels. Health workers need training on identifying attitude recognition, managers to make plans for a backup person and schedule appropriate times for patients appointments.
- Emergency procedures- All workers besides health workers should have training on how to deal with such emergencies like fire and accidents while working alone. There should be a communication mechanism within a specific interval an action initiated in case there is no feedback from the lone worker.
- Security- Use of locks and CCTV to control and monitor access within a station. Use of chime to alert on entry and any unlocked doors when they ought to be locked.
- Ensure that lone workers are driving well-serviced vehicles with spare wheels and the right quantity of fuel to reach their destinations.
- Management needs to monitor the whereabouts of lone workers and any deviation from the scheduled work station.