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 its employees. This means that organizations will be required to provide a number of mechanisms to reduce the risk to staff members 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. This undoubtedly should involve appropriate training, thorough risk assessments, a lone worker solution, and a comprehensive lone worker policy.
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 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 behavior. Be sure your workforce is comfortable administering your lone working policies and procedures.
2. Risk Assessments
A risk assessment is a systematic process of assessing potential risks that may be involved in a projected activity or undertaking. In this case, the many associated risks of lone working. Companies are obligated to carry out a risk assessment before employees are allowed to work alone, however, it’s also the employees’ responsibility to continually carry out frequent risk assessments. Consistent risk assessments enable hazards to be managed more effectively.
The HSE (The Health and Safety Executive) have 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 your risk assessment and update if. necessary.
HSE Five Step Assessment
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 SoloProtectID is specifically designed as an identity card holder in order to be easy to wear and discreet to use and is equipped with a 'Red Alert', function 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 Emergency Dispatch Center (EDC) Operator is listening to a possiblly 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. A device in untrained hands is useless.
4. Lone Worker Policy
A lone worker policy is essentially acknowledging the risk and providing an employee with the tools to reduce said risk. It should be designed to alert staff to the potential risks of lone working and inform each person of their responsibilities, before, during and after an incident. Having a detailed lone worker 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.
There’s no guaranteed way to eliminate lone worker risk. However, by having a detailed lone worker policy, providing thorough training, consistent risk assessments and implementing a dedicated lone worker device, you can reduce the chances of an incident and ensure you’re doing all you can to keep your employees safe.