What is a lone worker?

It might seem like a strange question to ask. Many of us would assume a lone worker is someone who simply works alone. Yet despite this, many lone workers don’t consider themselves to be one.

Often, it is believed a “Lone Worker” is a title reserved exclusively for those who wake up, leave home, work alone all day and head home. There are some who believe the term is reserved solely for carers, construction workers, or emergency workers. However, according to the HSE, Lone Working applies to “those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision”. Croner’s Health and Safety describes lone workers as “a worker whose activities involve a large percentage of their working time operating in situations without the benefit of interaction with other workers or without supervision”.

When described like this, we begin to recognise that lone working is something a lot of us do without realising. Working from home and being in the office late at night or early in the morning, we may not realise that we’re a lone worker, simply because the building you’re in isn’t empty, or because someone may come or go every other hour. However, each of us who are not in regular contact with a colleague or supervisor is considered a lone worker and therefore potentially at risk.

If a worst-case scenario were to take place, and while working alone an employee suddenly collapsed, fell ill or was even attacked – who would be there to assist them?

If a member of the public were to gain access to your premises and you felt unsafe, what course of action is available without agitating or provoking that person?

Working alone is not necessarily dangerous, but when more than 150 lone workers are attacked every day, we must consider the worst-case scenario to ensure everyone’s safety.

Depending on their level of risk, protecting your workers does not have to involve purchasing an accredited service. However, it’s important that every organisation with 5 employees or more undertake a comprehensive risk assessment and introduces an appropriate policy to ensure the safety of those workers.

There are 8 million lone workers in the UK; you may be one of them or the organisation you work for may employ them. It’s important for both the safety of your workers and the reputation of your business, that you have some form of policy in place. Not having the right policy and procedures in place may leave your organisation liable under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 which states each organisation has a “Duty of Care” and must “consider carefully, and then deal with, any health and safety risks for people working alone”

If you would like to learn more about how to protect your lone workers or would like a free risk assessment, please click here. If you would like to learn more about the services we offer click one of the links directly below.

Leave a Reply