Do you have lone workers in your business? Keeping them safe is essential – you have a duty of care them.
Ideally, no one should work alone but that is not realistic given the nature of some roles such as cleaners, small shop workers, or field based sales representatives. Working alone and being isolated means they are more vulnerable and at greater risk of harm.
Lone working is covered by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASAW), which requires all employers to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, the health, and welfare of their employees and any other persons who may be affected by their business activities. This includes employees who regularly work alone or those that do so on an ad-hoc basis.
What can the employer do to protect lone workers?
· Ensure you have a clear Lone Working Policy in place. Prepare it in consultation with your employees as they best know their roles, when they are most at risk and feel most vulnerable. As part of this discussion, consider procedures that could be implemented to eliminate/minimise those risks identified.
· Carry out risk assessments on an individual basis and put in place safety measures for any risks identified before the employee starts to work alone, such as tracking systems or panic alarms. Identify what activities they are required to do while alone, e.g. operating machinery, working at heights, etc. The assessment should also take into account the personal health of the individual and, depending on the level of risk, action should be taken.
· The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) introduced the following five-step risk assessments as guidelines for lone workers:
o Identify the hazards for lone workers
o Decide who might be harmed and how
o Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions
o Record your findings and implement them
o Regularly review your assessment and update if necessary
· Raise awareness among your workforce, ensure all employees are fully aware of the company’s Lone Working Policy, and ensure there is training on the lone working procedures.
For more information about dealing with lone working in the workplace, or any other HR services, please contact Mandy Brearley, MB HR Support on 07766665665 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.