Lone workers – the full facts & responsibilities
It is estimated that up to 8 million people in the United Kingdom are lone workers. That’s 22% of the 31.2m UK working population. The NHS alone employs up to 100,000 healthcare professionals (9% of its workforce) who work on their own every day.
Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, you must manage the risk to lone workers.Lone working is defined by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) as work carried out by people who work by themselves without close or direct supervision.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that the worker is physically alone; it means they are in a separate location from the rest of their team or manager. For example, a retail worker putting stock away by themselves is classed as a lone worker the same as a meter reader entering someone’s home.
If an employee cannot be seen or heard by a colleague, they are a lone worker – whether that be for all or part of their working day. This also includes staff who work from home.
Is lone working legal? Yes, it is not against the law to work alone, and for many employees it is safe to do so.
Lone workers face the same hazards at work as anyone else, but there is a greater risk of these hazards causing harm as they may not have anyone to help or support them if things go wrong.
Lone working is considered a higher risk activity for a variety of reasons. Lone workers may be more susceptible to attack because they are seen as an easy target. If they suffer an accident or other emergency situation, there is no one with them to help or call for assistance. An employee working alone is also more likely to make poor health and safety decisions and take more risks without a colleague around to share and discuss the decision making.
Watchful eye security carryout mobile security patrols and integrate lone workers on planned routes. In addition, we also respond to emergency calls and calls for concern.
If you are concerned about your duties as an employer and would like some free and friendly advice please contact us.