Our handy checklist provides eight points to consider. Violence and threats may be one of the most associated lone working risks, but they’re not as common as some of the other potential hazards listed below:
Check that the risks of the job can be suitably controlled by a lone worker? Some jobs/tasks just aren’t suitable for one person on their own.
Will the job require the lone worker to handle dangerous substances or machinery?
Stress is one of the biggest factors in employee absence. Might the demands of the role place unnecessary amounts of stress on the employee?
Assess the lone worker’s health. Some medical conditions may pose too many risks. Take into consideration what would happen if the employee fell ill whilst working alone.
Consider whether the environment presents special risks for a lone worker. For example, working at height or in remote locations.
Make sure that any lone workers whose first language isn’t English have clear instructions and advice. Especially on what to do in an emergency.
Consider the likelihood of threats or violence towards the lone worker. More common in public facing roles but this still needs to be considered for all lone workers.
Think about the particular risks certain groups of people may face, such as trainees, young, pregnant or disabled employees.
Some of the risks lone workers face are not all that different from what their non lone working colleagues may come across. The difference is in the outcome. For example, if an employee suddenly became ill at work, colleagues would be able to immediately assist by calling an ambulance or giving first aid. This would be entirely different for someone working alone, with a potentially much worse outcome. That’s why it is essential that you perform separate risk assessments for your lone working staff.
The actions you take as a result of the lone working risk assessment may call for additional supportive measures such as lone worker devices or training. Please get in touch for advice on either.