SureSafe offers a range of lone worker devices designed to keep lone workers, or ‘at risk’ workers, safe. SureSafe offers tailored solutions to fit both your employees risk needs, as well as fit your organisation's operational needs. SureSafe allows employees to call for help in an emergency, tracks their location via GPS in case they get into any difficulty, can detect falls should employees have an accident, and helps you satisfy your workplace health and safety requirements.
Risk Assessments For Lone WorkersArticle by Daniel Westhead
- Do I have to carry out a lone worker risk assessment by law in the UK?
- What are the benefits of conducting a lone worker risk assessment?
- Define who is a lone worker in your organisation
- Identify the types of work that are carried out alone
- Consider the environment in which they work
- Identify the risks associated with the work and environment
- How lone workers alarms help mitigate risk
Lone workers make up a significant portion of the workforce in many industries, and as such, employers have a duty of care to ensure their safety while they are working. A risk assessment is a vital part of this process, as it allows employers to identify any potential risks that their lone workers may face and put measures in place to mitigate them.
When conducting a risk assessment for lone workers, employers should consider the following:
- The type of work the lone worker will be doing
- The environment in which they will be working
- The risks associated with the work and environment
- The lone worker's experience and training
- The lone worker's health and fitness levels
Once the risks have been identified, organisations can start to put plans in place to both avoid obvious risks and reduce the impact of them. This may include providing the lone worker with appropriate training, supplying them with personal protective equipment, or ensuring that there is a system in place for them to raise the alarm if they are in danger, such as by using a lone worker alarm.
By conducting risk assessments and taking steps to mitigate the issues faced by lone workers, employers can help to ensure their safety while they are working and maintain their duty of care.
But how can you ensure that you have the right plan in place for your lone workers? We consider how to conduct a risk assessment for lone workers
Do I have to carry out a lone worker risk assessment by law in the UK?
No, there is no specific legal requirement for employers to conduct risk assessments for lone workers. However, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that all employers have a duty of care to ensure the health and safety of their employees, and this includes assessing the risks they may face at work.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 also state that employers must carry out risk assessments and take steps to mitigate any risks they identify. As such, it is good practice for employers to conduct risk assessments for lone workers, and failure to do so could result in prosecution if an employee is injured or killed as a direct result of the identified risks.
What are the benefits of conducting a lone worker risk assessment?
There are numerous benefits to conducting risk assessments for lone workers, including:
- Allowing employers to identify any potential risks that their lone workers may face while working
- Helping employers to put measures in place to mitigate the identified risks and protect their employees
- Enabling employers to monitor and review the risks on an ongoing basis
- Ensuring that their reputation is maintained
Define who is a lone worker in your organisation
Be clear on who your lone worker risk assessment covers in your organisation.
Generally speaking, a lone worker is an employee who spends some or all their working hours working alone. You may decide that your lone working assessment may also cover individuals who may occasionally be alone - such as for a short time in the office, or only consider where individuals are knowingly and foreseeably placed in circumstances in which they undertake work activities without direct or close supervision.
In practical terms, people are considered to be working alone if they have neither visual nor audible communication with someone who can summon assistance in the event of an accident or illness.
Identify the types of work that are carried out alone
The first step in conducting a lone worker risk assessment is to identify the types of work that are carried out by lone workers in your organisation. This will help you to identify the potential risks they may face.
Some examples of work that may be carried out by lone workers include:
- Working outside of normal office hours
- Working in remote or isolated locations
- Working with dangerous materials or equipment
- Working with vulnerable people
Consider the environment in which they work
When conducting a risk assessment for lone workers, you should also consider the environment in which they work. This includes both the physical environment, such as whether they are working indoors or outdoors, and the social environment, such as whether they are working with other people or in isolated situations.
Some examples of environments that may present risks for lone workers include:
- Outdoor locations, such as building sites or car parks
- Isolated locations, such as warehouses or office buildings after hours
- Dangerous environments, such as near moving machinery or chemicals
- Volatile environments where they may be expected encounter hostility for the public
Identify the risks associated with the work and environment
Once you have identified the types of work and environments that lone workers may be exposed to, you should then identify the risks associated with these. This will help you to put in place measures to mitigate these risks.
Some examples of risks that lone workers may face include:
- Physical risks, such as slips, trips and falls
- Biological risks, such as exposure to bacteria or viruses
- Chemical risks, such as exposure to hazardous substances
- Psychosocial risks, such as stress or violence
The risks faced by lone workers will vary depending on the type of work they are doing and the environment they are doing it in. It is important to consider all of the potential risks they may face and put in place measures to mitigate these risks.
Some examples of measures that can be taken to mitigate the risks faced by lone workers include:
- Providing training on how to safely conduct the work
- Supplying personal protective equipment, such as safety clothing or breathing apparatus
- Conducting regular risk assessments and updating them as the work or environment changes
- Putting in place procedures for lone workers to follow in the event of an emergency, such as calling for help or evacuating the premises
How lone workers alarms help mitigate risk
One of the most effective measures you can take to mitigate the risks faced by lone workers is to provide them with a means of calling for help in an emergency. This can be in the form of a lone worker alarm, which is a device that allows the user to raise an alarm if they are in danger or need assistance.
At SureSafe we provide a range of personal alarms that can help you to keep your lone workers safe, with some specific features that will ensure that, should one of your employees who are working alone get into difficulty, help is at hand.
GPS Tracking - Know where your lone workers are so that you can easily get help to their exact location
Automatic fall detection - Our alarms with fall detection will raise the alarm, even if the wearer is unable to press the SOS button.
In addition, our lone worker alarms can be either self-monitored - meaning that there is no ongoing fee to pay, you simply nominate contact for your lone workers, or you can opt for our 24/7 lone worker monitoring service which gives you the peace of mind that, should one of your employees have an emergency, there is always someone on hand to raise the alarm.
If you are considering ways to help monitor and ensure the safety of your lone workers, our team can help you to identity the best personal alarm for your business. So please do get in touch with us on 0800 112 3201 for more information.