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In the public mind, manufacturing and construction are probably not typically sectors with many lone workers. Surely, building sites are buzzy environments, while manufacturing often involves a production line approach? But often, workers in manufacturing and construction jobs will have periods working alone, or out of sight or hearing of their colleagues. With Safe Hub from Lone Worker Solutions, employers can build a robust lone worker safety system to keep these lone workers covered.

Manufacturing and construction sectors are vital to the UK economy

These sectors are diverse, with manufacturing industries accounting for some 2.5 million workers in the UK, and construction for a further 2.1 million. Typically, there are many roles in these sectors where working alone is a major component of the job. Roles involving security at plant or on sites will involve regular stints of working out-of-sight of colleagues. And for smaller operations in particular, workers can be working alone on certain shifts. Safe Hub can provide emergency, proactive, reactive and virtual barrier protection for all those roles, whenever employees need it.

In the UK, the manufacturing and construction sector had a higher than average rate of workplace injury in 2016/17. There are relatively more injuries in construction than in manufacturing. Nearly 3,000 injuries occurred per 100,000 construction workers, of which 30 were reported to be fatal. Perhaps unsurprisingly, falls from a height and slips and trips on the same level are the most frequent causes of such accidents. Safe Hub therefore provides invaluable support to such workers with our Worker Down function.

Securing health and safety for manufacturing and construction lone workers

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has useful guidance for companies in the manufacturing and construction sectors in the UK. This includes everything from general health and safety management through to dealing with maintenance shutdowns. You can read the guidance here.on-site

In the UK, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) legislation covers many materials used in these sectors. Under the regulations, employers need to prevent or reduce their workers’ exposure to substances that are hazardous to their health. The list of substances covered includes chemicals and products containing chemicals; fumes, dusts, vapours and mists; and gases. In manufacturing and construction, one of the main materials considered under COSHH is silica, while there are separate regulations covering asbestos. As with so many aspects of health and safety, good risk assessments form the basis of meeting COSHH and asbestos safety legislation.

If dealing with such materials is part of a lone worker’s job function, then Safe Hub can help to mitigate these risks. One particularly useful safety feature is our Safe Beacon function. This virtual barrier allows managers to get dynamic safety messages out to lone working staff. And those staff can easily signal if they get into trouble in an area where they may need to limit the time they spend.

Safe Hub scenario: factory security guard patrolling premises and working late

As we often like to do when looking at different economic sectors, we’ve put together a scenario to illustrate how Safe Hub can protect a lone worker in a particular situation. Let’s take Ahmed, a security guard on a night shift at a manufacturing facility. With a Safe Hub device or app on him throughout his shift, Ahmed can summon help at the push of a button or the tap of a screen should he need it. For Ahmed, risks centre on potential aggressors, especially if there are valuable materials on-site such as precious metals. He could be particularly vulnerable when doing a walk-around of the premises. There may also be general risks associated with shift work during anti-social hours.

For such scenarios, two of Safe Hubs features are especially useful. Red Alert puts Ahmed in direct contact with the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) in an emergency. With Safe Hub identifying his location via GPS, highly-trained operatives at the ARC can direct the police directly to him. Meanwhile, with Safe Check, Ahmed can check-in at agreed intervals by responding to automated prompts to confirm their status. Should he fail to respond, then the ARC implements escalation procedures according to a pre-defined protocol. And of course, for Ahmed, Worker Down and Safe Beacon are equally as important as for his daytime colleagues in the factory.

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