Have you had a look at your lone working policy recently? What do you mean you don’t already have one in place? Is it time to update your old one, or maybe start one?
If you employ lone workers, a lone working policy is essential. Not only to formalise good health and safety practices but to help reduce the risk of injury to your employees.
A lone working policy is a document which ties together your lone worker risk assessment, formalises any findings and then sets out clear lone working guidance for your staff.
Putting a lone working policy in place will ensure that lone workers are familiar with the risks they face in their job, know who is responsible for what aspect of their safety, and provide them with information on how to handle each risk.
Most businesses intend for the policy to be a practical guide so it’s best if it is kept short and sweet. Don’t add unnecessary information which dilutes the overall function of the document.
Here are some of the core elements we recommend the document should contain:
- Lone worker risk assessment – the starting point for your policy
- Background – describe the lone worker situation in your business and why the policy exists
- The types of lone workers in your business – specify the different types of lone working
- Areas of work – what areas and environments are your staff likely to be in?
- Hours of work – do your lone workers do their jobs within regular hours or ‘outside hours?’
- Responsibilities – both yours (the employer) and the employees
- Legal requirements and relevant laws
- Lone worker solutions – if you have devices, then the usage procedures should be included
You should make your policy accessible, easy to read through and refer back to. Keeping the document succinct will also be of benefit when it comes to rolling the policy out if it’s the first time, gaining valuable buy-in from your staff – nobody wants to read through a 100 page document!
When Should You Update Your Lone Working Policy?
Your lone worker policy should be revised alongside your other health and safety policies. Even if no changes are necessary, a regular review ensures everything is working as it should and everyone still understands the document.
Outside of those times, your policy should be reviewed after an incident. What can be changed to improve your policy and why did the incident happen? A review of your policy will help you understand and further enhance the safety of your employees.
The policy should also be reviewed if there are any changes to working practices, for example; a change in hours or location. New scenarios could introduce previously unseen risks. First, assess the risk, then make the necessary changes to your policy.
Any major changes in your business might affect your lone working policy; company mergers, new lines of business etc. Basically, if where, how and when your employees might carry out their duties changes, then its time to take a look at your lone working policy.
Who is Responsible For Your Lone Working Policy?
This is a question we get asked a lot – there is no definitive answer though and it will depend on the structure of your business and how responsibilities are shared.
A lot of big organisations will have a health and safety manager or coordinator, in this instance, they would likely take responsibility for managing your lone worker policy.
Smaller companies might have a ‘designated person’ to look after lone working, this can be anyone really, so long as they themselves have received some training and have a good understanding of the lone working element within your business.
As with all companies though, overall final responsibility is down to the business owner or managing director. They must ultimately be aware of any lone working issues and what has been put in place to help mitigate risks.
Need Help With Your Lone Working Policy?
Here at First2HelpYou we provide a number of lone worker solutions, including the KIT device. We can also help and advise with lone worker risk assessments and policy.
If you need advice on any aspect of lone working please contact us and one of the team will be happy to help.