Risks of Lone Working: How to Identify Risks and Prepare Employees

Risks of Lone Working

Studies show that as many as 46% of people in full-time employment count themselves as lone workers for at least a small part of their role and are therefore subject to risks of lone working.

Our article will give you a breakdown of the different groups of lone workers and the associated risks.

Preparing For Risk

You have a goal to encourage employees to minimise their exposure to the risks when working alone. You can implement safe working processes and utilise risk assessments, but even the most safety conscious cannot eliminate risk entirely.

By making sure you are aware of the risks associated with working alone, your lone workers will be confident that all risks have been considered, thus, preparing them for all eventualities.

Types of Lone Workers

Types of Lone WorkersFirst off, you need to identify what types of lone workers you employ. The easiest way to do this is to align your lone workers with one of the three groups below. Base this on the defining characteristics of their roles. You may find that some jobs do fall in between groups, this is fine.

Public-facing lone workers – Anyone who deals with members of the public on a regular basis.

Mobile lone workers – Roles that involve a lot of travel, long or short distances, for example; delivery drivers.

Fixed-site lone workers – Lone workers who stay at the same site and don’t usually come into contact with the general public.

(Click on the links above to read a detailed analysis of each type of lone worker and recommended safety solutions.)

The Risks of Lone Working

Once you have established the type of lone workers in your organisation, the next step would be an individual risk assessment on each employee or role. (For further information, read our guidance on lone working risk assessment.)

Some risks are present in all of the groups, while, some are specific to just one. Here are the main risks associated:

  • Sudden illness or accident
  • Violence, threats or abuse
  • Theft or intruders
  • Driving related incidents

These risks are by no means exhaustive but act as an indication of the risks posed across different roles. A risk assessment will give you a more detailed look at the specific risks, enabling you to properly plan how you intend to protect your lone workers.

Finally, remember to regularly review roles within your organisation to identify new risks and ensure risk profiles are as up to date as possible.