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Solutions for lone worker protection

Andrew Hawkins Andrew Hawkins

Organisations of all sizes, across all industries are adopting lone worker solutions as a result of concerns around employee safety, duty of care, litigation risk and deemed best practice.

To gain insights into the market opportunity and growth prospects for third party lone worker protection providers, we carried out a survey of 100 health and safety decision makers in a variety of companies across the UK in August 2018, together with in-depth interviews.

Why is there a need for lone worker solutions?

There are around five million lone workers in the UK, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics, who could be facing a degree of risk. Employers have a duty of care to ensure these staff are safe.

Organisations will assess the level of risk lone workers are exposed to when selecting the most appropriate lone worker protection solution. For example, employees working alone in low risk environments may prefer a self-managed system, such as a requirement for regular check-ins. Whereas employees who carry out manual work, face a potential threat of violence, or work in explosive environments may prefer to use an app or device connected to an alarm receiving centre (ARC).

Use of lone worker solutions

Half of the organisations we surveyed use a lone worker protection solution with an ARC. This is notably higher in facilities management and utilities industries (both 67%), and among larger companies with over 3,000 employees. We also found that some organisations, including housing associations and NHS organisations, had been using lone worker solutions for many years.

Unsurprisingly, adoption is driven by concerns around employee welfare and litigation risk, though it was clear from our interviews that the decision has become less reactionary and more proactive.

Lone worker solution providers

The supplier landscape of lone worker protection providers is highly fragmented; however companies fall into three broad categories:

  • Security firms such as Mitie, G4S and ADT provide ARC infrastructure and offer lone worker protection as an add-on service.
  • Companies like Reliance Protect, Send for Help and SoloProtect focus on solutions with an ARC for higher risk workers.
  • Companies like MyTeamSafe and PanicGuard focus on providing easy-to-use app solutions for lower risk environments.

Market outlook

We expect the lone protection market to continue to grow at around 10% per year. Our interviewees are optimistic about growth prospects across most sectors, with many health and safety officers reporting increased usage of lone worker protection devices and apps within their organisation. This is due to increased awareness around the risks lone workers face as a consequence of more stringent penalties and sentencing around corporate manslaughter.

If you would like to have a more detailed conversation on lone worker protection, please contact Andrew Hawkins.