The summer holidays are in full swing, the sun is shining (well, at least for one day!), and everyone is excited about their exotic getaway. For those left in charge back in the office, the holiday season can bring a host of headaches as staff take their annual leave, leaving a depleted work force.
This may not be a problem if you have a large work force, but if not then it may present you with other problems such as now requiring employees to work alone even if only for a couple of weeks.
Of course, you may already have employees who work alone, or you may work alone yourself. But do you have the correct procedures in place to ensure your and their safety?
Lone workers are workers that work alone or remotely without close or direct supervision. Lone workers are usually broken into two areas:
Fixed workers are employees that can:
- work alone in small workshops, petrol stations, kiosks or shops
- work from home including low-risk, office type work
- work alone for long periods of time e.g. in factories, warehouses, leisure centres, theme parks
- work alone outside of normal hours e.g. cleaners, security, maintenance or repair staff
Mobile Workers are employees working away from their fixed base:
- Workers involved in construction, repair staff, cleaning work, plant installation, utility workers
- Agricultural / forestry workers
- Service workers including social and medical workers, postal staff, estate agents, engineers, sales or service reps visiting commercial or domestic premises.
As an employer, how can you control the risks?
Although, there is currently no law set in place to protect lone workers, employers have a duty to assess risks to lone workers and take steps to avoid or control risks where necessary. These risk assessments should include:
- Involving workers when considering potential risks and measures to control them
- Taking steps to ensure risks are removed where possible or putting control measures in place if not
- Efficient training and supervision
- Reviewing risk assessments in a timely manner
- Being aware that some tasks may be too difficult or dangerous to be carried out by an unaccompanied worker.
- Where a lone worker is working at another organisations workplace, informing the other company of the risks and the control measures
- When a risk assessment shows it is not possible for the work to be conducted safely by a lone worker, addressing that risk by making arrangements to provide help / back up.
Risk assessments should help the employers decide on the level of lone worker protection that is needed in order to keep the employee safe.
Lone worker solutions need not be expensive, but not providing the right level of protection can be.
At LONEALERT we have a comprehensive range of products to help all businesses of all sizes and all budgets. If you would like more help in deciding if you need a lone worker solution, have a look at our previous blog - 10 questions you need to ask yourself when choosing a lone worker solution provider or we always more than happy to have a chat about your needs, call us on 0330 999 8484
Article Code: LABL201612