Did you know, that there are approximately 8 million lone workers in the UK? However, despite the vast number of employees, there are still common misconceptions surrounding lone working. Here, we will talk about just a few of the most common lone working misconceptions.
1) Lone workers operate entirely on their own
Most people think that a lone worker is someone who operates entirely on their own. But this isn’t true! It’s probably one of the biggest misconceptions surrounding lone working in the UK. While these individuals are lone workers, there are plenty of other workers who are lone workers too. For example:
- Homeworkers – yes, people who work from home are classified as lone workers (only if they live on their own without the company of family or friends). It’s common for employers to think that it’s the employees’ responsibility to keep themselves safe in their own homes. But health & safety hazards should be considered by employers and should also provide equipment for the worker including items such as desks, chairs and a mobile phone.
- Employees who cannot be seen or heard by a colleague – if an employee is working in a populated building but is carrying out tasks on their own in a secluded room within that building, they are classified as lone workers. Imagine if the employee working in the secluded room suddenly suffered a heart attack and fell to the floor. How long would it take for that person to receive help from a former employee? No one would be aware that an incident had taken place until it was too late.
2) Lone working is illegal
Lone working is legal! However, employers must carry out a full risk assessment before asking anyone to work alone. And if your organisation employs more than five people, this assessment must be recorded and written down.
3) Lone worker training isn’t important
Incorrect! Lone worker training is an essential part of keeping your employees safe. Lone working employees must be aware of the different threats and hazards faced during their working day and how to deal with those situations. The more training you give your employees, the better! This blog could help you head in the right direction.
4) The biggest risk for lone workers is the public
There’s a common misconception that the biggest threat to lone workers is the public. However, the risks to lone workers are much more diverse than this and do not just originate from the public. Machinery falls, trips, hazardous substances, and sudden illnesses are all risks that are more common than threats from the public. It’s important not to narrow your focus too far – try and think outside the box.