A lone worker is someone that works by themselves. As more processes are automated there is an increasing number of lone workers, simply because they are monitoring or maintaining equipment instead of undertaking the process manually.
While this is beneficial to the company and to the price of the end product, it does increase the risk of incidents. A lone worker can find themselves in a variety of dangerous situations. It can be because the equipment has failed, they have had an accident or been taken ill, or perhaps they have been harassed or worse by a group of people.
While all companies have a duty to perform risk assessments, the simple truth is that this doesn’t stop accidents from happening, just reduces the likelihood of them. The fact that there are over half a million workplace accidents a year confirms this.
As an employer, you need to do everything possible to deal with the hazards lone workers encounter.
1. Invest in an alarm system
One of the most important things any employer can do is recognize that accidents happen. While you will do everything you can to avoid this, the first step is to ensure the lone worker has a means of getting help. That means equipping all lone workers with duress alarms and creating a communication network. The aim is to check in with them regularly, allowing you to assume something is wrong if a check-in is missed.
The duress alarm allows them to alert you and people nearby, getting them the assistance they need as quickly as possible.
2. Undertake risk assessments
All employers are required to undertake risk assessments. This is when you work through the procedures required for each part of the job, locate the risks, and take steps to mitigate them.
Risk assessments should be taken seriously and checked regularly. After all, procedures change and you need the risk assessment to be up to date.
3. Regular Training
Alongside risk assessing the work, it’s a good idea to train your staff regularly. This is especially true regarding any dangerous elements of their job.
Every time a risk assessment is changed lone workers should get additional training. They should also have a refresher course every year, ensuring they know how to complete their job safely.
4. Dual Workers
Finally, you should review your procedures and the roles regularly. Wherever possible have two workers completing a job or in close proximity to each other. No matter how good your training is and your risk assessments, having a colleague nearby will make it easier for lone workers to get the help they need or even prevent an accident from happening.
Don’t forget, as well as reducing the risk to lone workers, you need to have a procedure in place that allows you to react as quickly as possible and get help to your employee. The faster they are assisted the better in terms of recovery time.