Lone workers are those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision. These can be employees, self employed people and contractors.
Here are some examples of lone workers and the type of jobs they may be doing:
- People working alone in premises, e.g. in small workshops, petrol stations, kiosks or shops
- People who work from home
- People working separately from others, e.g. in factories, warehouses, some research and training establishments, leisure centres or fairgrounds
- People working outside normal hours, e.g. cleaners and security, production, maintenance or repair staff
- Workers involved in construction, plant installation, maintenance and cleaning work, electrical repairs, lift repairs, painting and decorating or vehicle recovery
- Agricultural and forestry workers
- Service workers, e.g. rent collectors, postal staff, social workers, home helps, doctors, district nurses, pest control workers, drivers, engineers, architects, estate agents, sales representatives and similar professionals visiting domestic and commercial premises
Employers have responsibility for the health, safety and welfare of all of their employees at work. It is the employer’s duty to assess risks to lone workers and take steps to avoid or control risks where necessary. Employees have responsibilities to take reasonable care of themselves and other people affected by their work activities and to co-operate with their employers in meeting their legal obligations.
Lone working can expose workers to risks and vulnerabilities that may not otherwise be encountered. Points for consideration include:
- Does the workplace present a special risk to the lone worker?
- Is there a safe way in and a way out for one person? Can any temporary access equipment which is necessary, such as portable ladders or trestles, be safely handled by one person?
- Can all the plant, substances and goods involved in the work be safely handled by one person? Consider whether the work involves lifting objects too large for one person or whether more than one person is needed to operate essential controls for the safe running of equipment.
- Is there a risk of violence?
- Are women especially at risk if they work alone?
- Are young workers especially at risk if they work alone?
- Is the person medically fit and suitable to work alone?
- What happens if the person becomes ill, has an accident or there is an emergency?
Our consultants can conduct a comprehensive assessment of lone working arrangements in your business. We will provide a full written report highlighting any risks or vulnerabilities and advise on any necessary precautions to be taken or procedures that need to be put in place to ensure the safety of your employees and compliance with the law.
Contact us to find out more or to arrange an appointment for your Lone Worker risk assessment.