What is Lone Working?
Lone Working refers to a situation where an employee undertakes, the tasks associated with their role in isolation - separated from their colleagues. This can often put the employee at greater risk as there is no-one around to assist them if needed.
There is no legal requirement saying that Lone Working can't happen. However, one of the key things employers must do for lone workers is ‘put appropriate risk control measures in place to protect employees’ (The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, 1999).
Ten, even five, years ago these ‘appropriate risk control measures’ would be very different to those available today. With the advancement of technology lone worker alarms have progressed from whistles, to basic electronic alarms, to GPS locating ‘self-triggering’ 2-way communication devices.
The question we're asking is:
How do you know what risk control measures are appropriate with such a spectacular collection of, potentially live saving, risk control measures?
The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) covers this with a blanket statement which essentially leaves the decision up to the employer to decide, following a risk assessment, what is reasonably practicable. But should the regulation of lone working consider the advancement of technology and ensure that risk control measures protecting lone workers are not just appropriate, but also using all available technologies?
Are you a Lone Worker?
Do you think these regulations are enough to ensure your safety? We’d love to hear from you, especially if your employer is using new technologies to encourage your safety when working alone.
For more information have a look at our courses: Lone-working in the workplace and Lone-working out of the workplace. These are great programmes covering what personal safety really means, how to spot aggressive behaviour before it’s too late, how to diffuse a situation before it gets out of hand – and also what to do if it does.