24 March 2020
Lone worker protection is an essential part of a health and safety strategy in any firm with staff who work alone. This blog post looks at how to implement it into your existing policies.
A Health & Safety (H&S) strategy is likely to be included in an organisation’s overall strategy. It protects employees first and in doing so protects the organisation as well.
Lone worker protection
Lone worker protection is a sub-category of the H&S Policy. It can include the general provisions of employee safety, but it should include specific policies and procedures for lone workers.
In general terms, a H&S policy looks after employees within buildings whilst lone worker policies are primarily, but not exclusively, designed to protect employees outside of their work premises.
What’s in a health & safety policy?
A H&S policy generally comes in 3 parts:
- The statement of general policy on health and safety at work sets out your commitment to managing health and safety effectively, and what you want to achieve. This will include your intentions regarding lone workers as a specific sub-group in need of attention.
- The responsibility section sets out who is responsible for specific actions. This will assign responsibility to certain managers; perhaps those in charge of teams including lone workers and perhaps training managers. It will include responsibility for risk assessments.
- The arrangements section contains the detail of what you are going to do in practice to achieve the aims set out in your statement of health and safety policy. This will include procedures such as dynamic risk assessment and use of devices or apps enabling an employee to call for help. It should also include training, monitoring and consultation.
What about smaller organisations?
Obviously, large organisations have substantial resources making it easier for them to implement such policies and strategies but how do smaller organisations cope?
Perhaps considering the following questions will help:
1. Do I need a H&S Policy?
A documented H&S Policy is a legal requirement if you employ five people or more.
2. Do I have lone workers?
These are generally defined as those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision. Do you have:
Night workers? Community workers who visit people in their homes? Contractors working in your buildings? Self-employed individuals working for you?
These are all examples of lone workers you may not have thought about.
3. If I have lone workers, what do I have to do?
- Carry out a risk assessment
- Consult with them
- Work out procedures to enable them to protect themselves when lone working
- Carry out training
- Monitor their activities and update procedures and training where necessary
4. What help can I find?
- A supplier of lone worker services should be able to provide useful advice based on their knowledge and experience.
- The HSE web site
Written by Patrick Dealtry