Whilst risks can be similar across many industries, there will be risks that are completely unique to your organisation. That is why it’s important to understand the hazards your lone workers face. In this article we offer a few methods to gather risk information.
The key to a strong lone worker policy is to consider the potential risks that lone workers face, so you can offer best-practice guidance. This will give lone workers the freedom to make informed decisions about their safety. But how do you discover and document these risks?
There is no better way of discovering the challenges your lone workers face than asking them. Run small focus groups to look at specific areas of your business or job roles. Several of our clients have had great success with this method – it’s also great for raising the profile of lone worker safety within the business and engaging employees.
A survey can be a great way to gather information for your lone worker policy if your organisation is large or if it’s difficult to get staff together at the same time. Employees can often dread having to fill in long-winded questionnaires, especially if you are using a method such as printed sheets or Word documents. So, keep surveys short and to the point. Tools such as Typeform and Survey Monkey will help you to create easy, visual surveys.
Observing staff doing their job can be tricky as you don’t want employees to feel you are on the lookout for mistakes or to catch them doing something wrong. So, instead of observing, why not get involved and shadow a lone worker for a day? Explain why you are doing it and that it is in no way performance related or ‘checking-up’ on them. Ask them how they would feel if you weren’t there and to highlight tasks they see as being risky.
Previous health and safety data should highlight any patterns or specific areas of concern. Check on reported incidents and near misses. Once you have analysed this data, you can verify your findings with employees.
Always carry out a formal risk assessment. This is an easy way of making sure you have covered every area of lone worker safety, plus it will give you a clear path to follow and course of action to take. Download our lone worker risk assessment guide to learn more.