Safety Tips – Part 2: Managing Remote Workers and Field Technicians
Author: Erica Grilli
This blog is part two of a three-part series, to read our first blog, follow the link below:
Safety Tips – Part 1: Beat the Heat: Field Service Safety Tips for Keeping Workers Safe
How to Keep Your Remote Workers Safe in the Field
Workplace safety is a complicated issue for remote Field Service employees. The number of dangerous situations they’re put in range from common everyday hazards like driving, to the more extreme, such as operating specialized equipment high off the ground. Remote work is often done with minimal supervision, which only increases risk, and under conditions that can change at a moment’s notice.
There are health and safety requirements in place for obvious reasons, but how can you be sure they’re followed correctly? Being non-compliant not only means repercussions for the organization, but it also puts lives on the line.
What to Look Out For
Safety risks will vary depending on what type of Field Service your organization provides, but here are some common hazards and situations to be aware of:
- Chemicals and Contaminants
- For example, asbestos in old attics spills at a work site or industrial cleaners.
- Not just a potential problem for electricians, all remote workers need to look out for downed power lines and faulty equipment.
- Extreme Weather
- From natural disasters to soaring or plummeting temperatures.
- Remote workers and technicians that have jobs high off the ground are the first thought, but any number of things can trip someone up at a site
- Confined Spaces
- A small space almost always means normal concerns are amplified; numbers 1 and 3 on this list become even more dangerous due to less ventilation.
- Anyone with a smartphone knows how easy it is to lose track of what you should be paying attention to; distractions while working in the field are even more numerous and costly.
- Loud Noise
- Can cause permanent tinnitus or hearing loss.
- Working Alone
- One of the biggest concerns for remote workers is not having help right there if it’s needed, or a second set of eyes to catch dangerous mistakes.
Keeping Them Safe
Rules and policies won’t matter if they don’t resonate with your employees. One of the best ways to keep remote workers or technicians safe is to get them involved in their own safety. Get their feedback from the list provided in this blog, find out what their specific safety concerns in the field are, and use that information to make policies that work for them.
Get creative and make safety a priority:
- Make sure governmental safety regulations are in terms that are meaningful to your technicians.
- Use technology to your advantage, with tools such as safety timers, reminders, guides, or mobile emergency support.
- Put someone in charge of supervising and promoting safety.
- Have frequent and up-to-date training, including proper use of protective clothing.
- Track health and safety records, and pair veteran workers with a good history of safety with new technicians to ensure they form good habits in the field.
- Make reporting health and safety issues easy.
- Address complacency with frequent reviews, communication, and surveys, as well as engagement methods selected by workers themselves.
- Geotracking allows for real-time tracking, which can save lives in emergency situations.
- Inspect, correct, update, and review policies, plans, procedures, and equipment often.
- Schedule check-ins with technicians while they’re in the field and at the end of their day, to make sure they get home okay.
Get help when you need it. Our FSM experts are here to assist your organization with solutions to meet regulatory compliance and your remote workers’ health and safety needs.
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