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Keeping Lone Workers Safe: Your Responsibilities as an Employer

As a business owner, you have a duty to ensure the health and safety of all your employees under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations. This includes employees who work alone without direct supervision, known as "lone workers." While lone working can be convenient and efficient, it does come with risks that you need to manage.

Who are lone workers?

They can be delivery drivers, health workers, engineers, security staff, cleaners, warehouse workers, and more. Employees working from home are also considered lone workers. Anyone contracted to work for your business is covered, including the self-employed.

Some risks facing lone workers include:

  • Lack of direct supervision or assistance if an incident occurs

  • Isolation from co-workers

  • Potential exposure to violence or aggression from others

  • Greater risk of work-related road accidents

Examples of Lone Workers

Lone workers are individuals contracted to work for a business, including the self-employed, who perform their duties without immediate supervision. They can be:

- Delivery Drivers, Health Workers, or Engineers: Often on the road, facing risks associated with travel and remote locations.

- Security Staff or Cleaners: Typically working in isolated or vacant premises, potentially during unconventional hours.

- Warehouse or Petrol Station Employees: Operating in environments with inherent occupational hazards.

- Home-Based Workers: Experiencing the solitude of remote work, detached from the immediate support of colleagues.

As an employer, you are responsible for doing all you reasonably can to mitigate these risks. Here are some ways you can better protect your lone working staff:

  • Conduct risk assessments to identify hazards faced by lone workers. Update assessments regularly.

  • Provide training on safe lone working procedures, handling conflict, and emergency protocols.

  • Equip workers with communication devices so they can call for help if needed.

  • Use tracking systems to monitor remote workers' locations.

  • Establish check-in protocols for regular contact with lone workers.

  • Provide first aid kits and personal safety equipment like panic alarms.

  • Ensure vehicles meet safety standards and drivers are properly trained.

  • Rotate lone working duties among staff when feasible.

  • Offer counseling or support services to address isolation concerns.

Managing lone worker risks goes beyond basic compliance - it demonstrates your commitment to fully protecting your staff no matter where they work.

Consult the Health and Safety Executive's guidance on lone working for full details on your responsibilities as an employer. With the right policies and procedures, lone workers can stay productive and safe.


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