How Do I Create a Lone Worker Policy?
Rolling a lone worker policy out across your business will help minimize the risk of lone working, and enable you to take appropriate steps to protect you lone workers, whilst also acting as a guide for your employees.
If you don’t already have a policy in place, you might not know where to start. This post lists some questions you may have and hopefully answer them. Don’t forget, if you have any questions about lone working policies or are still stuck you can get in touch with us.
What is a Lone Worker Policy?
A lone worker policy is a document which incorporates your lone worker risk assessment, and then sets out clear guidance for your staff. Taking the time to create a detailed lone worker policy 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.
As the document is intended to be a practical guide, it’s best that it isn’t masses and masses of paperwork. You should make your policy accessible, easy to read through and refer back to. In addition, keeping it succinct will be of benefit when it comes to rolling the policy out and gaining buy-in from your lone workers.
Do I Need a Lone Worker Policy?
If you have employees who work alone, then the answer is yes.
A policy needs to be put in place to not only guide employees but help protect them. It makes good business sense too, as a good lone worker policy protects your organisation any from potential trouble with the law. If you can demonstrate you have done anything you reasonably can to protect your employees.
It’s not illegal to work alone, it’s not even a legal requirement to have a lone worker policy or device. It is, however, illegal to put employees at risk due to negligence.
You can read more about the reasons for having a good policy in this previous blog post.
What Should My Lone Worker Policy Include?
Your lone worker policy will be unique to your organisation and the risks faced by your lone workers. However, there are some elements that everyone should include. These are:
- 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
Who Should Put Our Lone Worker Policy Together?
Your lone worker policy should be put together by the person who is responsible for the safety of your employees. Big organisations usually have a dedicated health and safety professional who will take overall responsibility for safety policies and procedures, but we often find that in smaller companies, health and safety will be handled by a variety of people. Office manager, team leader, receptionist – it doesn’t matter who, as long as you have one person in control of documentation and procedures. With a lone worker policy, it’s also common for a person separate to the overall health and safety manager to take responsibility for lone working. This is often the manager of a team of lone workers or somebody who clearly understands the risks associated with lone working.
If you are starting a lone working project from scratch; implementing devices and creating a policy, then it’s a great idea to have a single person who is responsible for the project and is the ‘go-to’ for all things lone working. Choose someone who is passionate about wellbeing and wants to make a difference to the way your employees work.
You could also try getting your lone workers involved with creating your policy.
How Can I Encourage Staff to Engage With The Policy?
As mentioned above, getting lone workers involved in the process of creating your lone worker policy will have a positive effect on their view of the policy right from the start.
Nobody knows the challenges of lone working like the people on the frontline, so gathering feedback and input from your staff will not only assist you when putting a policy together but help keep employees engaged with the subject.
If the introduction of the policy is different to what employees are used to, or it’s a radical change to usual procedures, then gathering lone workers together to explain why you need a lone worker policy can help with uptake. Nobody likes to do something without knowing the reasoning behind it – take time to demonstrate the dangers of lone working, the consequences of unsafe behaviour and raise general awareness of the topic within your business.
We aren’t saying scare your staff, but it might take a gentle reminder!
How Often Should I Revise Our Lone Worker Policy?
Your lone worker policy should be revised as often as your other standard health and safety policies. Even if no changes are necessary, a regular review ensures everything is working as it should.
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.
Where Do Lone Worker Alarms Fit Into The Process?
Ideally, and this is if you don’t already have lone worker devices, you should start looking at solutions when you do a lone worker risk assessment. This means that you can choose a supplier, then roll out your lone worker policy and devices together as a complete system for lone working.
In many cases, your lone worker provider will assist you with putting your policy together, give you advice on roll out and keeping staff engaged.
If you already have devices, ensure that rules surrounding usage and escalation procedures are written into your lone worker policy. This ensures that all of the information needed to help protect themselves can all be found in one document.
Get in Touch With First2HelpYou
If you have any questions about lone working or how to create a lone worker policy, please contact us and a member of the team will be happy to help.