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.

Bespoke training delivers lowest passenger accident rates

Merseyrail is vitally important to the transport infrastructure of Merseyside.

Merseyrail credits the bespoke training course created by IKON with helping them to achieve their lowest passenger accident rate ever.

Merseyrail is an essential part of the transport infrastructure of Merseyside.

All 900 frontline staff (revenue protection, station retailers, station assistants and guards) receive basic conflict resolution training. However, station staff face frequent physical and verbal threats and there have been accidents around the network.

The company came to IKON to help them create a bespoke training package which would improve the performance of station staff and have a positive affect on customer relations and safety. They were also looking for strategic advice which would help them manage future challenges.

‘We spent significant time working alongside revenue protection teams and station staff so that we could develop a thorough understanding of the challenges they faced,’ says Jason Keeley, IKON’s Managing Director, ‘we also took time out to have detailed face-to-face discussions with frontline staff and management, listening directly to the concerns they had.’

IKON designed a bespoke training course that directly meets the needs of staff but reflects Merseyrail’s customer excellence ethos:

  • conflict resolution – communication skills and physical self-awareness
  • legislation – use of force, health and safety and rail bylaws
  • risk assessing individuals and situations

Feedback from Merseyrail staff who have taken the training is excellent, with 99% of delegates ‘very satisfied’ or ‘satisfied’ overall.

Since the initial training, Merseyrail has commissioned bi-annual follow-up courses for staff and a comprehensive training programme for managers, enabling them to maintain continuity and consistency of learning.

‘We continue to work with IKON to reduce passenger accidents on the network, increase awareness of mental health issues, and improve outcomes around aggressive behaviour.

Their delivery methods, adaptability, professionalism and knowledge in this area has allowed us to achieve our lowest passenger accident rate ever,’ says Merseyrail’s Competency Training Manager,