Although it is usually perfectly safe to work alone, there are many risks which can affect lone workers, particularly those in high-risk industries. It is estimated that 6.8 million people in the UK are lone workers, which is about 22% of the UK working population.
What is lone working?
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines lone working as “someone who works by themselves without close or direct supervision”. This includes people working alone in the community, the only employee present in an office or any situation where you are physically isolated from your colleagues.
The three key risks to lone workers are:
Who is most at risk?
One of the biggest threats to lone workers is violence. This not only depends on a person’s occupation but also upon the circumstances and situations under which a person performs their job. Factors that may increase the risk of violence include:
Reactions to both physical and non-physical violence can be both physical and emotional. Types of reactions can include:
How can I assess the risks to lone workers?
Lone working activities must be risk assessed, considering the following aspects using PET:
Our Lone Working online course goes into more detail about assessing the risks to lone workers and suitable control measures to put in place. Take a look here.