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Lone Workers | Essential Health & Safety Advice

Date 10 Aug, 2020 |
By: Claire Malley

lone workersAs an employer, you must manage any health and safety risks before people can work alone. This applies to anyone contracted to work for you, including self-employed people. The HSE defines lone workers as “those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision”.
There will always be greater risks for lone workers without direct supervision or anyone to help them if things go wrong. Many of them are exposed to work-related road risks. The types of job roles where employees often work alone include:

  • Delivery drivers, health workers or engineers
  • Security staff or cleaners.
  • Workers in warehouses or petrol stations.
  • At home – for example in the Domiciliary Care Sector.

The Risks of Working Alone

Irrespective of the sector your employees work in, anyone that is working alone is at risk. The major risks associated with lone working include:

  • Violence, threats or abuse
  • Theft or intruders
  • Driving related incidents

Simple Advice for Employers

The best place to start is recognising and classifying what types of lone working employees you have in your business. People who work alone characteristically fall into one (or more) of three categories:

  • Public-facing lone workers
  • Mobile lone workers
  • Fixed-site lone workers

Employers have a legal obligation to carefully consider the health and safety risks of these lone workers. Start your lone worker arrangements by creating a lone working risk assessment. A separate lone working risk assessment is especially important because lone workers are often more vulnerable than someone who, for example, works in a busy office. A hazard is a physical thing that causes harm. This could be dangerous chemicals and substances hazardous to health, electricity or work at height.
There are also a number of things you can do to protect your lone working employees:

  • Implement a Lone Working Policy.
  • Introduce specific training to help and support those working alone in your organisation.

Advice for Lone Workers

Your safety when working alone can be improved by following these simple tips:

  • Make sure that a co-worker or family member knows where you are.
  • Be wary — if something doesn’t feel safe don’t proceed.
  • If an incident does occur, share it with colleagues so that it can be documented in the correct way and lessons can be learned.
  • Only take what you need to an appointment — don’t overload yourself with un-necessary equipment.
  • If you have a lone worker device, such as an alarm, use it!

For health and safety advice you can trust, get in touch with our safety team today for your FREE consultation.

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