- So far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all employees
- A safe system of work for all workers
- That any lone working activities do not endanger others not in their employment
Risks to lone workers include:
- Increased risks of accidents, injury or ill health
- Increased vulnerability, e.g. in the event of violence, sudden illness, fire or other emergency
- Isolated working during hours of darkness, which can make lone workers more vulnerable to assault, or fear of assault
- Provision for security, emergency procedures and first aid
- Any limitations to assistance, back up or remote supervision
Each individual is different and specific risk factors should be assessed in consultation with individual lone workers and health advisors, as appropriate. If the assessment shows that the employee’s individual circumstances, health, condition, disability or capabilities mean they would be at increased risk when working alone, then, lone working is not suitable for that person.
If the risks can be effectively controlled, steps should be taken to adjust the work task or working conditions to allow the employee to continue working.
Certain groups of workers likely to be at particular risk are classed as vulnerable:
- Women are particularly vulnerable to risks of violence, harassment and assault, especially when working alone outside normal working hours
- New and expectant mothers - a specific risk assessment is required. This will need to include an assessment of any lone working and will need to be reviewed throughout the pregnancy
- Young and inexperienced workers - are generally more at risk because of their inexperience, which can mean that they lack knowledge of safe systems of work. Young workers may also be more vulnerable to acts of violence
- Non-employees - may be at increased risk from employees working alone and this should be taken into account during the risk assessment. Some circumstances where lone working could affect others include home carers and when driving
- Address the hazards where risks are created
- Reduce risks to a minimum if they cannot be removed completely
- Prevent lone workers being exposed to foreseeable risks, or minimise exposure if the risks cannot be avoided entirely
Lone working should be avoided if there is a recognised high risk of violence that cannot be adequately controlled. Depending on the situation, two-person working may be required, or additional measures may be needed to provide the necessary support for a lone worker when the lone worker is involved in complex decision-making, problem-solving or conflict resolution.
Now Try this Lone Working Quiz.
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Cooper Bassett Consulting