According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), safe working arrangements for lone workers should be established exactly as they are for other employees.
Prior to assigning an employee to a lone working activity, the employer must first consider potential hazards, asking themselves…
- Can one person adequately control the risks of the job?
- How will the individual be supervised?
- Is the job suitable for a young lone worker?
- Is there a higher risk presented to a female carrying out the role?
- Is there any risk of violence attached?
- Is the assigned individual medically suitable for lone working?
- What is the procedure should the lone worker fall ill or face an emergency?
- What is the required training to ensure the upmost safety in the role?
Taking extra precautions may help eliminate the hazards presented to lone working, such as…
- Introducing a Buddy System – If the job is simply too risky to be carried out alone, a second employee is assigned to the role to provide extra support.
- Increased Communications – Often a two way walkie-talkie is all it takes to deter dangers from a lone worker. A visible means of communication indicates that back-up is not too far away!
- Monitoring – CCTV monitoring acts an extra deterrent to protect security guards and those is similar roles who are likely to be faced with an aggressor. Knowing they are on camera may encourage the perpetrator to think about their actions!
- Emergency Alarms – A personal alarm system is suitable for the whole spectrum of lone workers. Skyguard’s own system allows lone workers to discreetly call for help without making it known to an aggressor. A mandown function will also call for help automatically should the lone worker fall and be unable to activate an alarm themselves.
Implementing appropriate safety procedures enables employers to balance meeting their Duty of Care with effective lone worker protection. According to law enforcement, an employer could be hit with a hefty fine if found liable for an incident.