The Hidden Dangers of Lone Working

WA Management provides professional, adaptable and appropriate solutions for your Health and Safety needs. Each week, our research blog takes a detailed look at particularly topical areas of the sector, or risks that are repeatedly overlooked. The focus for this week ties directly into our ‘Hazard of the Month’ as we cast light on the dangers of Lone Working, and what you as an employer can do to mitigate the risk.

An overview of lone working

A lone worker is any employee who, for a multitude of different reasons, is required to work on their own for extended periods of time. Danger arises if, due to certain circumstances, this employee cannot receive the help that they may need. For example, a construction worker who sustains a major injury and cannot raise the alarm for crucial first aid. Consequently, Lone Working continues to be an incredibly important factor in Health and Safety, and one which must be duly considered by employers.

Who specifically might be at risk?

As mentioned, many different types of workers are at risk. These employees could be male or female, of any age. Fortunately, our handy graphic below highlights some of the most common Lone Working groups.

What are the risks to a lone worker?

The risks present to a Lone Worker are diverse and manifold; furthermore, these dangers are accentuated by the fact there may be a delayed response. Lone Workers may experience unpleasant or potentially dangerous interactions with member of the public. Equally, an injured land surveyor or forest worker may be unable to call for the assistance they need.

Lone working in and of itself does not necessarily create a greater number of immediate risks than any other job, but rather it makes an appropriate and effective response harder to achieve.

How can risks be minimised or mitigated?

Despite the somewhat bleak picture painted above, there are a number of sensible measures both an employee and employer can take, undergirded by HSE guidelines, which ensure that no Lone Worker is put in undue danger. Such measures include:

  • Involving the worker at risk: As in anything, the very best solutions come out of a coordinated and considered approach. Employers taking the time to talk through the potential dangers helps to create awareness and promote safe practice.
  • Implementing control measures: After evaluating the risks, appropriate measures to mitigate them can be implemented. This might include video surveillance, or an alarm system.
  • Instruction, supervision and training: These control measures are only effective if people are aware of their necessity. By training those at risk, the know the necessary steps they must take.
  • Regular reviewal: By regularly reviewing Risk Assessments, workers can ensure that the most up-to-date and sensible practices are being implemented.
  • Looking forward: Health and Safety must always reflect the pioneering nature of the industries it seeks to protect. WA Management recently reported on Safe Shores Monitoring, who were awarded a £600,000 to provide state-of-the-art Lone Working alarms to HSE professionals. Solutions like this show how risk mitigation is always a question of being adaptable and flexible.

How can WA Management help?

WA Management brings to the table years of specialist experience, and a determination to provide an exceptional quality of service for your Health and Safety needs. In regards to Lone Working, our expert consultants are available to identify the risks present – both obvious and overlooked – to deliver the best solution. Furthermore, as times and circumstances change, our dedicated team will continue to work closely with those at risk to provide flexible protection. Our Risk Assessments are scrutinised and reviewed yearly to maintain peace of mind for both employer and Lone Worker

We do the hard work, so you don’t have to. Make sure you enquire about our Lone Working Risk Assessments HERE today.

Sources and Useful Links

HSE Guidelines on Lone Working HERE