22% of the UK’s working population are lone workers. As a business owner, it’s important that you’ve the right policies in place to keep your staff safe. In this guide we’ll look at:
- Your responsibilities as a business owner.
- Planning and implementation.
- Training employees to the required standard to carry out lone working.
What is a lone worker?
A lone worker is anybody who works by themselves without close or direct supervision. In the UK, there are an estimated eight million lone workers – that’s more than one-fifth of the working population.
Did you know?
A common misconception is that lone workers are alone, but that isn’t always the case. Lone working could mean the individual may work in a separate location to their manager or team, with the general public or in another warehouse on a large site, for example.
Do I still have legal responsibilities?
Yes, you do. Lone workers certainly aren’t a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Before you allow an employee to become a lone worker, under the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations, you must consider any Health & Safety risks first. This is to make sure that lone workers aren’t open to greater risks than other employees.
Factors to consider
As we touched upon earlier, you must consider Health & Safety risks before granting lone worker permission. If you’re unsure of what type of things you ought to be considering, here are some factors to bear in mind.
- How many people will be needed to complete the task safely?
- Does the location or environment pose a special risk to the employee?
- Are female workers at greater risk?
- Is the individual considered vulnerable? For example, young persons, new and expectant mothers or an individual with medical issues.
- Will there be adequate security at the site the lone worker would be working at?
- How will you provide the employee with the means to notify you in case of an emergency?
- Is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) required?
- Can you and will you be able to take reasonable steps to know the whereabouts of a lone worker?
For more information about lone working and protecting your staff, please download the lone working guide using the form above.