Do your staff ever work when no one else is in the building? Chances are, they probably do. With most school security systems, employees need only swipe their badge, and they are in. This is called “lone working,” and while it may feel like a productive way to get work done, it can also be dangerous.
CM Regent has compiled these tips school administrators can use to decrease their risk level when employees are working alone:
- Establish a written policy. Rather than allowing employees to enter the building whenever they want, develop a policy discouraging them from working alone. You may want to ask them to fill out a permission slip detailing when and why they will be working alone.
- Determine which tasks should be off-limits. Such tasks could include, for example, working with ladders (whether in the classroom or for custodial duties) or working with dangerous chemicals. No matter how careful your staff are, there is always the possibility of an accident with certain types of tasks.
- Step up your training. Empower your employees to make good, clear-headed decisions about which situations are safe and which are not. Include lone working as a regular topic in your staff in-services.
- Develop a co-worker check system. If an employee absolutely must be in the building alone, they should be required to contact a supervisor at regular intervals to let them know they are OK. There also are apps available that allow lone workers to check in easily and quickly.
- Require staff to lock themselves in when they are working alone. If the doors to your school are open, a student, parent or other member of the public could easily enter and cause an unsafe situation. A lone worker with a keycard is not an invitation for the public to enter a closed building.
- Prohibit staff from meeting with members of the public while working alone. You may have teachers or other staff who want to schedule a parent conference or other meeting for a time outside regular school hours. This is not safe, because no one else is around to witness the exchange. Encourage staff to schedule meetings in close proximity to other staff members.
- Prohibit staff from handling money alone. There should always be two or more staff members around.