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Safety on-shift – how do you keep your remote workers secure?

12 August 2014

IQTimecard is a leading workforce management solution with a number of contract cleaning clients on its roster.The company's David Lynes, expert in workforce handling and monitoring, offer his tips for safeguarding mobile cleaning employees while they work.

When employees have a central workplace like an office, they have safety policies and plenty of legislation in place to protect them, whether they’re making a coffee in the kitchen or lifting a pack of printer paper. There are supervisors on shift to ensure that no harm comes to staff, and strict emergency procedures should the worst happen – all employees feel safe and secure while they’re working in such environments, with so many safeguards in place. 

But what if your workforce is made up of contract cleaners, working unsociable hours in unfamiliar workplaces and spending a lot of time in transit between client locations? How do you keep your team safe while they’re scattered across an area, working long night shifts in buildings they visit on perhaps a weekly basis? It can be difficult to keep track of a large workforce at the best of times, even when they’re all in the same building – sending out teams to work in remote locations demands a special kind of attention. These three basic ideas can help to improve safety and security for cleaning staff, safeguarding and protecting them while they work.

  • Risk Assessments

We’ll start off with something that should be a given – all employers should carry out risk assessments on new premises that their workers are expected to clean. They should identify the potential hazards associated with working on such a site, they should verify whether any additional equipment is going to be required for their employee to do their job, and they should ensure that, if any additional training is needed for the mobile worker to remain safe while at this location, it is carried out imminently. Employers must be confident that their staff can perform all tasks unsupervised.

  • Monitoring Solutions

Time and attendance monitoring is a key element of managing a remote workforce of cleaners, especially when the job calls for staff to be in numerous locations over the course of their shift. This kind of easy-to-use software, whether it’s a biometric method or an electronic call monitoring system, helps to track what time workers arrive at or depart a location. The more modern equipment can send alerts to management if workers are late to check in or out of a client location, prompting supervisors to make contact with their employee to ensure everything is alright – if there’s a problem, help can be dispatched to the location quickly and efficiently.

  • Equipment

It goes without saying that all cleaning staff should be equipped with the equipment they need to carry out their job – but they should also carry a number of extra items around with them for safety and support. A basic first aid kit is a must – plasters, bandages, antiseptic wipes and other basic essentials should be carried at all times. Workers can also carry painkillers, warming heat pads for muscle strains, as well as any prescription medication that they might be taking. Cleaning staff will have no need to use these kits on the majority of shifts, but it’s vital that they’re kept on hand in case any issues arise. They will also help staff feel more comfortable in their job.  

It’s obviously more difficult for employees to monitor staff when they’re working remotely – but taking steps like these can help safeguard cleaners while they carry out their duties. Workforce monitoring is a difficult task in even the most conventional workplace, but with the traditional working environment changing and transforming, businesses must find new ways to monitor their remote employees and ensure their safety.