It’s now time to decide what control measures should be put in place to reduce the risks you have identified.
For mitigating the risks for lone working activity, the following approach may be useful:
The first two stages in this process are very important. It’s better to remove the risk than to have to mitigate against it. If it’s neither possible nor practical to take either of these approaches, consider how to control the risks and protect employees if they do occur.
Control and Protect
Control measures can be SOFT, i.e. behavioural controls such as method statements or safe working policies. HARD control measures are more about physical controls such as personal protective equipment or protection devices. A combination of both will be the most effective way to mitigate the risks of lone working.
Creating Safe Systems of Work
Where you’ve identified and assessed the likelihood and severity of risks, you now need to design your control measures and safe systems of work for managers and employees, to ensure safety throughout specific tasks.
The law requires “employers to provide systems of work that are planned, organised, performed, maintained and revised as appropriate, to be, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risk to health.”
The risk rating you applied initially should give you a sense of the level of control measure(s) you need to put in place.
Control measures will include the following:
- Before any risk related activity, alert others and consult the risk assessment database for warnings or further information
- During a specific risk activity stipulate a dynamic risk assessment, PPE usage, lone worker solution usage
- After a specific risk activity, check-in and confirm safety, logging incident.
Create a Lone Working Policy
Once you’ve established the way in which your organisation will mitigate and manage risks, it’s best practice to produce a lone working policy, providing guidance and support to managers and staff. The aim of the lone working policy is to create a concise, practical guidance document for employees, which is easy to read and digest.
As a guide, your policy could include:
Introduction and Purpose – Explain the aim to increase staff awareness of safety issues relating to lone working, as well as minimising incidents and injuries.
Definitions – Provide a clear definition of what lone working is and how you recognise it within your organisation.
Roles and Responsibilities – Clearly state the responsibilities of the CEO, directors, line managers, and all staff working alone.
Risk Assessment Procedure – Outline the process of assessing risks in the organisation, including carrying out dynamic risk assessments, if applicable.
Lone Working Procedures and Processes – Explain how the risks should be mitigated and what systems should be in place to monitor lone worker safety.
Staff Training – Outline the training requirements for managers and lone workers, which might include dynamic risk assessments, conflict resolution and lone worker solution usage.
Accident/Incident Reporting – Detail protocol for employees reporting accidents/incidents, including reporting procedures. If there is a formal logging system in place, all details of this should be provided.
Review – Note review periods, evaluations and further actions to be taken.
Appendix Documents – More information may be required on safety measures and processes outlined in the policy. This can be clearly and simply added as appendices with easy reference for compliance. Contact information should also be provided for any queries on the policy.
Designing Lone Worker Solution Usage
After assessing risks and designing your safe systems of work, you may have decided you need a lone worker solution to:
- Enable your employees to call for help if required
- Proactively confirm safety at regular intervals (check-ins)
- Automate alerts if employees become incapacitated
Based on your risk profiles, you should identify what you need from a lone worker solution and which type of solution will be the best fit. Solutions come in the form of Smartphone applications, connected Bluetooth devices, dedicated GPS devices and satellite devices. If you would like further information on which type of solution is best for your employees speak to our lone worker protection experts.
Along with this should be a lone worker solution usage policy, created and submitted as an appendix to your lone working policy. The content of this should include:
- The organisation’s responsibilities to the employee and the employee’s responsibility to use the solution in the defined way
- Details of how the employee should use the solution, referring back to the risk profile and noting the disciplinary process followed if the usage policy is not adhered to.
- An outline of the company’s position on tracking/using information gathered from the system, for performance reviews etc.
Download our template ‘Lone Worker Solution Usage Policy’ below.