BUSINESS

As a business director, what else can I do to keep my lone workers safe?

You need to ensure you are safeguarding the members of your staff who usually work alone, both for legal compliance as well as for an easy conscience. Here are some of the steps you can take to keep them safe, and to keep you within the legality.

 

Responsibilities of both the lone workers and the employers

As an employer or business owner, you are responsible for identifying hazards and risks to your lone workers, assessing these risks and establishing procedures to avoid them in order to stay within the legality. In case you have 5 or more workers, you need to record your findings in writing.

It’s a two-way street and thus the lone workers must know they have legal obligations as well. They need to take reasonable care of themselves, and always co-operate with you. You have to include them in your risk assessment, as they are very frequently in the best position to tell you about the risks and hazards they might be facing.

 

Avoiding risks to lone workers

Think about procedures, monitoring, training and the right equipment. Members of the staff working alone in leisure centres, petrol stations, shops or factories, and outside the usual working hours, like security staff or even petrol station attendants, need to understand clearly what they need to do in case of an emergency. They require secure premises – entry, monitoring or security alarm systems and restricted areas. They also have to know that back-up and support will be available to them if and when they need it, and how to call for it.

Mobile workers, such as vehicle recovery and maintenance staff or cleaners working on other premises, will need even more than that. Add specialised training, regular contact, inspections from managers, automatic tracking and warning devices and first aid equipment to your shopping list. If your lone worker is actually working off-site, let the other employer know when the lone worker is on their premises, and thus they can take care too.

 

Special cases

Special care is required if:

  • The lone worker is alone in a one-to-one situation in someone else’s home.
  • The work being carried out puts workers who are pregnant, new, less mobile, young or new mothers, at more risk.
  • Portable equipment or cash make your lone workers a target.
  • Lone workers deal with members of the public or need to handle complaints or bad news.
  • Lone worker are carried out their duties in an area with restricted access.

 

Continuous assessment of lone worker risks

Regularly speak with your employees and ask them about the lone worker safety measures you have put in place. Ask if they actually feel safe with them, and how you can improve further. Check their records for tell-tale absenteeism or stress-related signs that could potentially indicate there is an underlying problem.