If your company employs or is looking to employ staff that work alone, then you will need to have a policy in place, but what exactly is a working alone policy?
Working Alone Popularity
Over the last few years, working alone has seen an increase in popularity. Companies have seen the increased flexibility it offers their workers and in turn, have noticed that this also leads to an increase in productivity.
However, working alone carries with it several risks, especially if lone workers are not given the appropriate protection.
Indeed, as recently as 2013, Andrew Iacovou, who was working alone in a betting shop, was murdered at work.
We wrote last year about how this and other tragedies, lead to certain changes in the law for those working alone and part of those changes were some tightening of working alone laws and policies.
What Needs To Be In a Working Alone Policy?
This will vary depending on your type of business but there are some foundation points that all working alone policies will need.
A Risk Assessment
This is an assessment of where your employees will be working and if there are any risks or hazards, they may face.
A good place to start if you are not sure what a risk assessment involves is the Health And Safety Executive website, have a look at their working alone guidance here.
Types And Areas Of Working Alone
As ‘working alone’ is quite a generic phrase you will need to detail the types of working alone your employees will be doing. For example, will they be visiting clients in their homes or are they going to visit new people at an unknown location?
They could just be working in a shop or office on their own, either way, you need to clearly detail the type of lone working.
Similarly, the area they are working in, is an office location or outside? Will they be working at night?
Again, you will need to clarify this in the working alone policy, both for legal requirements but also so that any workers and fully informed and happy about the nature of their work.
You will also need to state how you will meet the legal requirements required of a company employing staff that work alone.
The Health & Safety Exec site we mentioned above is always a good source of information but we have also found an excellent working alone guide from UNISON here that should answer lots of questions you may have.
Working Alone Safety Devices
If you are going to be using any safety devices to help protect your staff who are working alone, then you will need to include how and when they will be used, along with comprehensive guidance on how they work.
If you would like to look at a range of working alone safety devices then head on over to this page on our website and you will see just how useful they could be to your staff.
Who Should Create A Working Alone Policy?
Now that you have some knowledge to help you get started on a working alone policy, you may be asking, who should create it?
Quite simply, the working alone policy should be created and maintained by the person who is responsible for employee safety.
For larger companies, there is usually a Health & Safety Officer or Department. It may fall under the responsibility of the HR Dept or Facilities Manager.
Smaller companies won’t have this level of staff support so as long as there is one person with overall responsibility for working alone safety and policies.
If there is no working alone policy in place already, then we would recommend getting the input of staff that will be working alone.
It is good to understand working alone from their perspective as they may have concerns and questions that someone in Management may not think of.
This also creates an environment where you are working with your employees, not just dictating policy that could have the unwanted side effect of leaving workers feeling like they are not trusted or being spied upon.
When Should The Working Alone Policy Be Updated?
As with any other health and safety policy, they should be reviewed regularly, every six months would be a good time.
If there are any government and legal changes to working and working alone, you will need to make sure that any policy is updated.
Also, if there are any changes to your business and how it operates. For example, if you relocate to a different location or the hours of work change.
The other time to review all health and safety policy, working alone included, is if there an accident or incident.
This way you can see if there is something that could be done to prevent an accident or incident from happening again.
Get In Touch
We hope that we have given you some useful knowledge on a working alone policy, we do also have a guide to creating a working alone policy in the Knowledge Bank on our website for further reading.
If you do have any further questions that you would like to ask us or would like to talk about our range of working alone safety devices, then please do contact us.