This article discusses:
- who is considered as a “lone worker”;
- common risks that lone workers are exposed to;
- 4 major issues that employers must address when establishing a safe work plan;
- digital solution to develop reporting and inspection processes; and
- lone working risk assessment templates you can download and use in the workplace.
Lone workers are those whose job entails working in isolation from other employees. They can be those who work outside normal business hours, away from a fixed base, or those who work separately from others. Anyone who works alone, including contractors, self-employed individuals, and especially employees, is considered as a lone worker. Such types of workers are exposed to higher risks of workplace hazards due to lack of assistance and supervision.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has recorded a handful of information concerning lone worker accidents and fatalities. Common workplace accidents involve hazards such as slipping, tripping, falling, electrocution, using faulty machines, not wearing personal protective equipment, and unattended medical conditions. Controlling the risks of lone working is crucial for both employers and employees to make sure that safe work practices and conditions are still top priorities even when working alone.
All employers must establish safe working procedures and protocols to reduce or eliminate potential hazards that lone workers may be exposed to. Here are 4 major issues that employers need to address when establishing a safe workplace:
- Risk control measures – conduct regular risk assessments to identify and evaluate existing and potential hazards. Assess which hazards can be mitigated and which hazards are uncontrolled to develop more effective engineering and administrative controls.
- Worker medical condition – ensure that all lone workers are physically fit before commencing work. Seek medical advice if needed and make sure that emergency equipment and procedures are in place.
- Safety and competency training – develop training programs to measure and enhance worker competency level and skills.
- Supervision – conduct periodic site visits to check current working conditions and employees’ quality of work and discuss findings with employees. Use reporting tools like iAuditor in your business and get notified of what is happening during lone working hours.
An essential part of establishing a safe working system for lone workers is to conduct regular risk assessments. A mobile app solution like iAuditor is an ideal replacement for paper-based risk assessments and can be incorporated into your safe work system:
- Lone worker benefits: Due to lack of assistance and supervision, lone workers should be competent to identify and assess the risks in the workplace, and be capable of responding to emergencies. Do paperless reporting on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. Capture photo evidence of hazards and electronically share them to authorized people anytime.
- Employer and manager benefits: Track work progress and safety of lone workers. Comply with government requirements and get notified when there are new risks for immediate resolution.
To save you time, we have created lone working risk assessment templates you can download for free and fully customize.
Featured Lone Working Risk Assessment Templates
Lone Working Risk Assessment Checklist
Lone workers can use this checklist to report any hazard present during their work shift. Simply do a site walkthrough, capture photos of findings and evidence of any risk that may affect safety, and assign actions to authorized personnel if these hazards would hinder you to continue working. Lastly, provide an overall risk rating.