Reducing the risks associated with working alone
Is it illegal to work alone and how can employers reduce the risk of lone working?
Is it illegal to work alone?
In short, no! It’s not against the law to work alone and, in many cases, it’s perfectly safe to do so. It is, however, the responsibility of all employers to provide a safe working environment for all employees. This means that any employing organisation will be required to provide a number of mechanisms to reduce the risk to staff members based in the community, or working outside of a single office, site or location. Measures should be taken in order for lone workers to have the necessary tools to allow them to respond correctly to emergencies.
How can employers reduce the risk of lone working?
Employees have a right to be safe during their working hours and employers have a moral and legal duty of care to do as much as possible to keep their staff safe. Well trained employees will be better equipped to manage risk and make the right decision when faced with aggressive or violent behaviour. Be sure your workforce is comfortable administering your lone working policies and procedures.
2. Risk Assessments
A Lone Worker Risk Assessment is a systematic process of assessing potential risks that may be involved in an activity. Companies are obligated to do this prior to allowing employees to work alone to ensure hazards are appropriately managed.
The HSE (The Health and Safety Executive) has introduced a simple five-step risk assessment:
Step 1: Identify the hazards.
Step 2: Decide who might be harmed and how.
Step 3: Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions.
Step 4: Record your findings and implement them.
Step 5: Review and update if necessary.
3. Lone Worker Solution
Lone worker solutions, such as the one provided by SoloProtect, are designed to offer dedicated support, the fastest possible response and peace of mind to those working alone. The SoloProtect ID is specifically designed as an identity cardholder in order to be easy to wear and discreet to use and is equipped with a Red Alert and Incapacitation function (Man Down Alarm), allowing a lone worker to capture the audio of potentially abusive situations where their safety may be compromised. At the push of a button, a Red Alert is triggered and a trained SoloProtect Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) Operator is listening to a possible abusive or violent situation on your behalf. If you choose to use a lone worker device, be certain every lone worker is fully trained and confident using it.
4. Lone Worker Policy
A lone worker policy is essentially acknowledging risk and providing an employee with the tools to reduce said risk. It should be designed to alert staff to the potential hazards of lone working and inform each person of their responsibilities, before, during and after an incident. Having a detailed Lone Working Policy in place will help reduce the risks that lone workers face and give you greater knowledge of the appropriate actions to help improve staff safety.