If you are the employer of a lone worker then reading and understanding all the rules and regulations could be a little bit overwhelming.
As lone worker safety experts, we are often asked what must the employer of a lone worker do?
So, here at First2HelpYou, we will help you to understand your obligations to your lone workers.
The Definition Of Lone Working
As defined by the HSA, a lone worker is “those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision. Anybody who works alone, including contractors, self-employed people and employee, is classed as a lone worker.”
According to Health And Safety At Work, in the UK last year there were over six million lone workers in the UK, which is roughly twenty percent of the workforce.
The HSE say that a risk assessment is a “‘suitable and sufficient assessment’ of risks to your employee’s health and safety, and risks to others not in your employment that are created because of your work.”
Let’s have a look at what that means for the employer of a lone worker.
As an employer, a risk assessment is carried out to identify any hazards or risks. Hazards and risks often get mixed up so to make it easier to understand:
- A hazard is something that could cause an accident or danger to people.
- The risk is what could potentially happen to someone because of the hazard.
For example, an extension lead that is plugged in and trailing across an office is a hazard and someone tripping over the extension lead is the risk.
There is a 5-part plan to a risk assessment that the HSE have created that you may find useful:
By evaluating the nature of the lone worker’s role and the environment they work in, an employer can identify any hazards.
Next, an employer should consider who could potentially be at risk. Bear in mind that many lone workers meet with people in a variety of locations day and night, so the risks are higher than if they were just based in an office location.
Thirdly, employers should carry out an evaluation of any safeguarding measures or systems that are currently in place to help prevent any risks? Are they sufficient or do they need updating or changing?
All of the above then needs to be written down, recorded and stored. Then any plans that an employer intends to implement can be published and communicated with their employees.
The last of the 5 parts of a risk assessment is that it shouldn’t be carried out just once. The very nature of lone working means that their environment and who they encounter can change all of the time.
So, regular reviews of risk assessments should be carried out to ensure an employer keeps their lone worker as safe as possible.
For further information and help our First2HelpYou Knowledge Bank contains a really useful guide to lone worker risk assessments.
Lone Worker Policy
As the employer of a lone worker, you should have a lone worker policy.
A lone worker policy sets out exactly what the obligations are of the company, line managers and staff in ensuring the safety of the lone workers. It also acts as a guide on what to do should an emergency arise or the location of a lone worker is unknown.
This might include an escalation procedure, a check in/check out plan, or even sub-policies, such as a driving for work policy or social media usage.
Here at First2HelpYou, we think it is important that employees are consulted and given the opportunity to have some input in the process of creating or updating lone worker policies.
Not only does it increase buy-in, but having the input of employees will give you some insight into seeing lone working and the associated risks from the perspective of a lone worker.
Larger companies often have a healthy and safety or facilities team that would be responsible for putting together a lone worker policy.
But for smaller companies it would often be a combination of managers and staff who would work together.
If possible, we would recommend that is the overall responsibility of one person to publish and update any policies to ensure there is an element of control.
Lone Worker Training
If an employer of a lone worker decides to issue lone worker devices then we highly recommend that all employees, including managers, are trained on how the devices work and how they are monitored.
It’s obviously important that employees are happy with how they work and when to use them.
It’s also important that their supervisors and managers also understand how they are operated and are happy with the monitoring data that they will see.
We provide tailor-made training to suit the needs of a business. From face to face training, to train the trainer training, you can have a look at all of our training services here.
Get In Touch
Your obligation of an employer of a lone worker are to keep them safe, just as you do staff who do not work alone. The only difference is there are risks associated with lone working that are exclusive to them and need to be controlled.
If you would to find out anymore information or guidance, have a talk about our lone worker devices and arrange a consultation the please feel free to contact us.