Lone Worker Risk Assessment
In the five-step guide to conducting a risk assessment, during step two – identifying who is at risk from hazards – lone workers may have been identified as people at increased risk.
Defined by the HSE as employees “who work by themselves without close or direct supervision”, lone workers don’t have the benefit of a colleague to spot potential hazards or assist in the event of an incident. Although it’s not necessary to conduct a separate lone working risk assessment, people that work alone should be considered in an employer’s general risk assessment.
Risks to consider when lone working
At Peoplesafe, we use the PET risk methodology which examines the people (where work involves proximity to individuals who pose a potential risk), environment (the workplace itself poses a risk to personal safety, for instance a remote or rural location) and task (the nature of the task being undertaken presents a risk, such as operating machinery).
Risks that particularly affect lone workers include:
- stress and mental health or wellbeing
- working with valuable equipment or money
- mobile phone coverage
- emergency services response time
- the level of experience or expertise of the worker
- sudden illness
- driving-related incidents
How to minimise risk to lone workers
If lone working is needed to continue, even after identifying hazards, employers must state how each hazard is intended to be managed in the lone worker risk assessment. One measure to control risk is to provide training that will help workers to recognise situations where they feel at risk – this is commonly referred to as a dynamic risk assessment. Download our infographic.
Additional training on how to diffuse aggression and conflict resolution techniques may also be useful for workers at higher risk of violence such as public-facing staff.
HSE guidance on lone working was recently updated to advise that employers must monitor their lone workers and keep in touch with them. Implementing a lone worker service is an option that leverages technology.
Lone worker solutions
Providing lone workers with a dedicated lone working device or lone working app allows them to raise an alarm in threatening and dangerous situations. The GPS-enabled devices are able to provide an accurate location of the lone worker which can be relayed to relevant people within the business or the emergency services, if necessary. Having this remote back-up support also provides extra psychological assurance that assistance is available despite working in isolation, helping to improve the mental health and wellbeing of lone workers.
Learn more about the impacts of lone working on mental health
All BS 8484:2022 accredited solutions will have the ability to create timers and leave voice memos to provide additional information of the lone worker’s movements and whereabouts. Employers can establish lone working processes and procedures in their lone working policy that require lone workers to communicate regularly throughout the day.
Additional features such as fall detection can help to control the risks of sudden illness and being struck by falling or moving objects. Incidents like these for lone workers could become increasingly serious when there is no one around to send for help. Having a device with fall detection will automatically raise an alarm if it detects a change in orientation followed by a period of non-movement.
For more information on the market-leading lone worker service provided by Peoplesafe, speak to one of our expert consultants today who will also be able to offer further guidance on best practice lone working risk assessments.