A lone worker is anyone who works by themselves, without direct or close supervision. Regardless of the circumstances an employee is working under as a lone worker, their safety is at an increased risk without colleagues or other people being immediately available to help them, or to notice if something is wrong.
So we are going to be looking at what both employees and employers need to do in order to reduce these risks and help keep employees safe while they work and travel.
An employer has a legal duty of care for employees health, safety, and welfare - not only when they're working alone, but actually, for every minute they're working. This includes making sure that working alone doesn’t put these staff at a higher risk than other workers. So, an employer should have created suitable policies and procedures for lone workers, and they should also have welfare and first aid support available for employees as well.
Regulations say that employers must carry out suitable risk assessments too. If an organisation has five or more employees, employers need to keep written records of the assessments, but this is best practice anyway, even if there are less than five employees! If a risk assessment determines that a lone working task puts employees at a higher risk than an employee who doesn’t work alone, employers are legally responsible for putting extra control measures in place to protect the employee while they complete the task. To give an overview, UK law says that employers cannot ask an employee to work alone during any task that is simply too risky for one person to carry out unsupervised, like working with very dangerous chemicals or in tightly confined spaces, for example.
Employees have a legal responsibility to take care of their own health and safety, as well as the safety of other people affected by their work. This means that they have to follow their organisation’s health and safety policies and procedures, including any control measures for safer lone working.
The better an employee is at working in line with these, the safer they and others will be. It’s also their responsibility to tell their employer about any damaged or broken equipment, or any problems they notice with the workplace systems or the environment. They're also responsible for reporting any accidents, injuries, near misses, physical or verbal abuse, or other health and safety incidents at work.
Employees must make sure that their employer always has their most up-to-date contact information and emergency contact details; and finally, even though they don’t need to go into detail about a diagnosis, disability or medical condition, they must tell their employer if their health could potentially affect their ability to safely work alone in any way, and give employers enough information so they can put measures in place to reduce the risks to employees safety.
Lone Worker Safety Training
As a lone worker, staff may work in isolation all of the time, for part of their schedule, they may have colleagues nearby but not in their immediate environment, or they may work with or around the public as a lone representative. This Lone Worker Safety Training will cover simple steps to take if staff have an accident or sudden illness when working alone, what to do if they are receiving verbal or physical threats, steps they can take to prevent these things from happening, and, both the employee and employers responsibilities.
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