6 ways to keep lone workers safe

1 – Share your policy

A lone working policy is a document that provides guidance and support for employees that work alone. Although it’s not a legal requirement, an effective policy can help to promote a strong safety culture among employees, in order to keep them safe and reduce the risk of legal issues.

2 – Assess the risks of the role

Ensure that you carry out thorough risk assessments for each lone working role. The assessments should cover the risk associated with a particular job and the environment in which they work.
Adapt the risk assessment if the lone worker is pregnant, under 18 or has a disability.

3 – Equip lone workers correctly

Make sure that you have proven and tested systems in place:

  • Accurate monitoring with check in/check out facilities
  • Personal alarms – so that the lone worker can get fast and effective assistance in an emergency
  • GPS tracking – so that you can keep track of your lone worker’s location
  • accurate records of emergency contact numbers, including out-of-hours if appropriate

4 – Provide training and advice

Lone workers need training on how to work safely.
This must cover dealing with risks, recognising danger signs, how to act in an emergency and how to de-escalate a difficult situation if needed. 

Lone workers should also be advised on safe lone working practices and any procedures to ensure their safety, including how to use personal alarms. 

If an employee feels they have not been shown how to do a task safely, they should request training from their employer before attempting it.

5 – Encourage openness and communication

Prevention is the best cure and lone workers are often best placed to identify safety risks. It’s the employer’s responsibility to encourage openness and facilitate communication with and between lone workers in order to create an environment in which people feel safe to report risk.

6 – Know when lone working is not ok

Working alone may not be appropriate in high-risk situations, for example if lone workers are likely to encounter people prone to aggressive behaviour, with mental health problems or individuals under the influence of drugs or alcohol.