Looking After Lone Workers - An Introduction
The blanket term 'lone worker' covers a multitude of different employment scenarios; lone workers are not merely self-employed people who work from home. In fact businesses of all sizes may employ staff who fit the definition of lone workers, from the salesperson on the road and travelling alone to the single security guard who protects business premises overnight.
Employers are obliged by law to ensure the welfare of lone employees and any business owner or leader needs to be aware of their responsibilities. Business skills training specialists Maguire Training offer a comprehensive course, Health & Safety for Lone Workers, which fully explains to delegated the definition of lone working, demonstrates how to assess and minimise health and safety risks to lone workers and suggests how different technologies can be used to help ensure their welfare.
Areas to consider when protecting the welfare of lone workers
Ensuring the health and safety of lone workers requires more than a straightforward risk assessment for potential hazards in their work environment. Certainly it is incumbent upon business leaders and managers to take every possible action to minimise the possibility of accidents through slips, trips and falls, but lone working brings with it a whole range of further health and considerations.
Firstly, an employer should assess whether the job in question can be handled capably and safely by a single individual. If so, it might be necessary to ensure that the lone worker has the suitable skills and knowledge to carry out the job, that they have been sufficiently trained and that they will not be susceptible to job-related stress.
Other factors that must be considered are whether the job requires the handling of potentially hazardous materials or equipment, or whether the lone worker may find themselves in situations with others which may leave them vulnerable to abuse or violence.
How to provide appropriate support for lone workers
Whilst lone workers may be perfectly capable and happy to work alone, this does not mean that they do not require adequate supervision and support. Welfare should be monitored on an ongoing basis and lone workers should be encouraged to raise any concerns or issues that they have.
Providing a reliable means of contact is of the utmost importance, particularly for lone workers who may be trainees, new to a role or for whom English is not their native language. Lone workers should have the facility to quickly and easily report any emergency that may arise, and employers should ensure that contingency measures are in place to cover eventualities such as a lone employees - absence due to illness or for other reasons.
Lone workers are a valuable asset to many companies and it is vital that employers extend them the same rights, privileges and levels of health and safety protection that other workers receive. Managing the welfare of home workers can be a complex area due to the diverse nature of roles that lone workers undertake. Maguire Training can help to ensure that businesses comply with lone working regulations and look after their employees correctly and effectively. For the added convenience of business owners and managers, the invaluable Health & Safety for Lone Workers both as a conventional classroom-based session and also as online training which delegates can access from any internet-connected PC or device via Maguire Training's excellent E-learning platform.