Ensuring Health and Safety a lone worker is a growing issue for HR and H&S Teams in UK Organisations.
What is a lone worker?
A Lone worker or Lone Working is defined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision. It is estimated up to 8 million people in the United Kingdom are lone workers (22% of the 31.2 million UK working population).
Examples of lone working situations provided by the HSE, include the following:
The Lone Worker in fixed establishments
- A person working alone in a small workshop, petrol station, kiosk or shop
- People who work from home other than in low-risk, office-type work (separate guidance covers homeworkers doing low-risk work.
- People working alone for long periods, eg in factories, warehouses, leisure centres or fairgrounds.
- People working on their own outside normal hours, eg cleaners and security, maintenance or repair staff.
As mobile workers working away from their fixed base
- Workers involved in construction, maintenance and repair, plant installation and cleaning work.
- Agricultural and forestry workers.
- Service workers, including postal staff, social and medical workers, engineers, estate agents, and sales or service representatives visiting domestic and commercial premises.
What are your responsibilities and legal obligations?
As an employer, it is your duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, to protect the health and safety of all employees including lone workers, contractors and self-employed people performing work for your business.
Employers are required to conduct a workplace risk assessment. Areas of concern include manual handling, employee medical suitability, workplace location and the possible risk of violence. Adequate communication systems should be in place, including personal safety alarms. Regular, ongoing training should be provided depending on levels of staff experience and all workers should be able to respond quickly and correctly in an emergency situation.
However, lone workers, including self-employed individuals, also have a duty to:
- Take reasonable care to look after their own health and safety.
- Safeguard the health and safety of other people affected by their work.
- Co-operate with their employer’s health and safety procedures.
- Use tools and other equipment properly, according to relevant safety instructions and any training they have been given.
- Not misuse equipment provided for their health and safety.
Having a Lone Worker Policy in place can help promote a strong safety culture among employees and reduce the risk of legal issues. Your company policy should identify the possible risks faced by individual employees and lone workers according to the nature of their job role. Information on support and relevant contact details including area of responsibility, an emergency procedure and accident reporting structure should also be available.
Training both employers and employees is crucial in keeping lone workers safe and helping to reduce accidents.
The EssentialSkillz Lone Working eLearning course has been designed to enable employers who have identified situations where people work alone, whether in the office or remotely, to provide training and information on the potential hazards and risks they may face and how to determine and implement appropriate controls.
The course highlights how to prevent accidents and avoid possible emergency situations – including fire, equipment failure, illness and accidents, and trips, slips and falls – and explains the organisational accident reporting procedures. The course also demonstrates how to assess different risks, how to develop control measures, how to ensure control procedures are adequate and how to determine if additional measures are required.
Like all the EssentialSkillz courses, this Lone Working eLearning course can be customised to meet the needs of a larger organisation, enabling your workforce to understand the specific policies and procedures you have developed. A designated course administrator can edit the text and images within the course, and link to organisation-specific documentation, all at no extra cost.
If you have less than 100 employees and require eLearning on a PAYG basis, why not use www.courses123.com to download the training you require for your employees who work alone?