Lone Working Policy Guide

What is the purpose of a lone working policy, do I need one, and what should it include? Here's a free guide and template...

What is the purpose of a Lone Working Policy?

A Lone Working Policy explains how an organisation will protect its lone and remote workers from risk, as well as identifying key procedures your workers can follow to keep themselves safe.

However, importantly, it can also help to promote a strong health and safety culture and safeguard against the reputational damage that can occur following an incident - particularly one that could have been prevented.

Do I need a lone working policy?

There's no specific lone working legislation in the UK, however, employers do have a duty of care to protect their employees from risk.  

Therefore, any company that employs people who work alone or remotely should have a comprehensive lone working policy that is regularly reviewed and amended in line with organisational changes and/or incidents. It should be easy to understand and all workers should know where to find it.

Things that should be included in a Lone Working Policy

There are the core things that should be included in your lone working policy:

1. Purpose and summary of your document

As with all policies, you should start by explaining the purpose of the document and what you’re trying to achieve. This will help you gain full buy-in from your teams.

2. Lone worker definition

Be sure to use your Lone Working Policy to define what a lone worker is.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) explains that a lone worker is "someone who works by themselves without close or direct supervision".
You can find more information about this in our blog: What is a lone worker?

You should also use your Lone Working Policy to explain the associated risks of working alone and why it’s important to protect lone workers from risk.

In basic terms, people working alone do not have any support available from colleagues should an incident occur (e.g. an injury, health issue or attack). You can find out more here: Why Protect Lone Workers?

3. Compliance and responsibility

You should take the opportunity to demonstrate to colleagues that health and safety is a company priority.

Outline what your organisation will be doing to safeguard employees who work alone, plus any guidance on what you expect your lone workers to do to look after their own personal safety.

Highlight the following compliance and responsibility requirements:

  • Managerial responsibilities in identifying and minimising risks associated with lone workers and providing necessary equipment and support.
  • Employee compliance with all designated lone working controls and procedures.
  • Employee responsibility for their own safety.

4. Risk assessment and risk management

Where lone working is a requirement of your employee’s role, a Lone Worker Risk Assessment should outline all the risks they might face and how these can be exacerbated by working alone e.g. possible acts of violence and aggression; slips, trips and falls; falls from height; and unexpected health issues.

There are a few ways to collate this, but first and foremost you must consult your workers and any line managers. Work with them to identify any hazards and then establish any control measures needed.
You may find this article useful: 6 types of workplace hazards and how to spot them.

This section is particularly important because if you’re not aware of the specific risks your lone workers face then how are you going to support them should an incident occur?

5. Associated risks and procedures

Compile a comprehensive list of all known risks and what action should be taken in these circumstances. Be sure to cover any associated risks relevant to your organisation.

6. Lone worker device implementation and alarm monitoring

Explain the support that will be provided to your lone workers to ensure they can do their jobs effectively and safely. This will probably include the provision of lone worker safety devices or personal safety apps, along with a clear procedure for their use.

Be sure to include an outline of the alarm monitoring process and the key requirements of the devices/apps and alarm receiving centre.

7. Training requirements

Highlight any training and development that may be required to support your lone workers in adhering to your Lone Working Policy and procedures. This may evolve over time so remember to keep it up to date.

8. Monitor, record, and review

You should clearly state how incidents will be recorded and when the policy will be reviewed e.g. following legislative or procedural changes or an incident.

Perfecting your lone working policy

For more information watch our webinar with SHP, "Perfecting Your Lone Working Policy: An Essential Guide to Safety and Success."

Example lone working policy

To better understand what to include and how to structure your policy, just download our example. Remember that this is a template to get you started; you should adapt it to the specific needs of your organisation. 

Download Example Lone Worker Policy

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.

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