Employers are legally obliged to carry out a risk assessment if they employ lone workers. But we know that some of the technical terms and jargon can be a little off-putting. So, we have put together this handy guide on how to do a lone worker risk assessment.
What Is A Lone Worker Risk Assessment?
A lone worker risk assessment is undertaken in order to identify any hazards and risks that a lone worker may encounter where they are working.
If you employ more than 5 employees you have to record risk assessments. If you have less than 5 employees you still have to carry out a risk assessment, but you don’t have to record the findings.
However, we would recommend that you keep a record of any risk assessments regardless of how many employees you have.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has an excellent 5-point guide to risk assessments which we think would be a good place to start.
What Is A Hazard And What Is A Risk?
The best way to describe the difference between a hazard and a risk is using an example.
So, If you were working in an office with a laptop plugged in on a desk and the cable trailed all the way across the room to the wall socket, then the hazard is the trailing cable.
The risks are that someone could trip up on the cable, or the cable could end up being damaged and stretched, becoming a fire hazard.
It is worth pointing out that a risk assessment isn’t just looking for physical hazards and risks, but mental health hazards too.
For example, if a risk assessment identifies that an employee is being asked to do too much and not given adequate time for breaks, then the hazard is the heavy workload and the risk is that this could lead to a downturn in morale and mental health.
What Happens After Risks And Hazards Are Identified?
Have a look at the First2HelpYou risk assessment template on our website here for an idea of how they should look.
Once any hazards and risks have been identified you will need to record what action you are going to take to prevent these hazards and risks from causing any harm.
So, let’s go back to the example we used earlier.
There’s a laptop cable trailing across the room, what action could be taken?
The employee could move and work nearer the plug socket, a desk may need to be moved, if they are short on space, the cable could be arranged around the edge of the wall.
This action needs to be recorded along with a date for when it will be done and the name (or department) of who will be responsible for fixing it.
Some risks and hazards may not be quite so straight forward to rectify. It may be that some staff training is required on operating machinery or some health and safety training on how to carry heavy equipment.
Who Is Responsible For Doing The Lone Worker Risk Assessment?
Larger companies will most likely have a Health And Safety Officer or Department who will be responsible for lone worker risk assessments. It may even come under the remit of the Human Resources or Facilities Department.
For smaller businesses, it may be the owner, manager, administrator, but most importantly it should be one person that is responsible for the whole process and to keep the records updated.
How Often Should Lone Worker Risk Assessments Be Carried Out?
We would say that somewhere between 6 and 12 months is suitable for revisiting a risk assessment.
However, if there has been any change to working practice and conditions or a lone worker is working in a new location then a lone worker risk assessment should be done.
Also, if there has been an accident or incident involving a worker then a new risk assessment should be carried out to identify and prevent this from happening again.
It is crucial to note that lone workers will face different risks than those that are based in one location or with one team.
So, a lone worker risk assessment should take into account factors like the environment and risks from people.
Lone workers are more likely to encounter difficult situations with aggressive and agitated people so they may need some more specific solutions such as lone worker devices.
Get In Touch
For some further reading, we have a full guide to lone worker risk assessment here.
If you have any other questions you would like us to answer about lone working risk assessments or would like some more information about our lone worker security solutions then please do not hesitate to contact us.
You can telephone us on 0333 7729401 email us at sales@First2HelpYou.co.uk or use our online contact form here.