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Lone Working Policies: What are they and what should they contain?

A woman walking alone down a street

A lone worker is anyone who works by themselves, without direct or close supervision - and with remote working and flexible working arrangements on the increase - the subject of Lone Worker safety has never been so important. Regardless of a worker’s particular lone working arrangement (as this term is a big umbrella that covers many people working in different industries, with different shift patterns and locations of work), a lone worker’s safety is at an increased risk without colleagues or other people being immediately available to help them, or to notice if something is wrong.

This is why one of the most important things that employers can do, particularly as a starting point, is creating a Lone Worker Safety Policy.

What is a Lone Worker Policy?

Your organisation may have a specific Lone Worker Safety Policy, or, this information may be part of your organisation’s general Health & Safety policies. There’s no legal requirement to create a standalone document for lone workers, as long as all the key elements are covered somewhere and made known to staff.

Employers have to make all policies easily accessible to all staff, which may mean the document(s) come in different formats or are stored in more than one location. Employers must also ensure that every employee understands and follows them. If an employee needs any training to be able to do this, their employer must provide it to them. 

A Lone Worker Safety Policy is a document that explains everything that employees and employers need to know and do to keep staff as safe when they’re working alone as they are when working with colleagues. The policy should also tell staff what support is available to them if they experience an accident, injury, illness, or assault while working alone. 

What should the Policy contain?

Your business’s Lone Worker Safety Policy will be unique to your organisation and the tasks that need to be carried out. However, you can start with covering the following:

  • Why the policy has been created and what it aims to achieve (statement of intent)
  • When formal risk assessments will be carried out and why
  • When workers will receive relevant safety training, and what the training is
  • What support is available if workers experience an accident, injury, illness, or assault while working alone (e.g. time off, internal support, counselling, legal assistance)
  • What communication methods will be used for situations related to lone working (e.g. Buddy Systems, phone calls, app check ins)
  • What technology and monitoring systems are to be used to aid lone worker safety (e.g. personal safety devices, tracking systems etc)
  • What the employer, supervisor/line manager, and the workers should do in an emergency (an emergency procedure)

If you’re new to creating policies or would like further assistance, we have a very simple policy template that you can use as a starting point to get you started on creating one.

Download our template

Lone Worker Safety Training

Our online Lone Worker Safety course is an essential piece of training for anyone who works alone or away from colleagues. Learners will gain many practical skills on commuting safely, preparing for and carrying out their work safely, reducing common risks associated with lone working, taking care of their mental health, communicating effectively to diffuse tension, and they’ll learn what to do in an emergency.

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