A lone worker is an employee who works with no colleagues nearby. Lone working happens in many different ways and supervisors needs to identify risks faced by lone workers for their teams and in their work sites. Supervisors need to demonstrate that they have actually considered lone working risks in all situations that could potentially arise for their teams managed and in their work sites.
Policies when it comes to lone working
Lone workers need to have their own procedures and policies in order to guarantee that they are properly protected from any hazards or risks. The following lines aim to explain what exactly a lone working policy is, and what elements you need to include in the policy. The article will also explain how to go about creating one.
Once you have carried out your risk assessment, you must create a safety policy for the lone workers. A lone working safety policy is a set of guidelines that will set out the rules of your firm on working alone and help your workers understand the risks and hazards they might face during their working hours. The policy should aim to provide your lone workers with practical information, advice as well as instruction on how to work alone safely.
Is having a lone working policy that important?
A lone working policy contributes to the wellbeing and safety of the lone workers and will provide assistance and support for working alone. A lone working policy is a practical set of guidelines that workers can apply to their roles. Having a lone working policy us not a legal requirement per se, but an effective lone working policy will definitely help promote a solid safety culture among your workers, keeping them safe and sounds and eventually reducing the risk of legal issues. The lone working policy must be a document easily accessible and simple to understand. Lone workers as well as supervisors need to be familiar with the contents of the document. Issue a copy of the document to new workers who will be working alone and also to any contractors or even to temporary workers you use.
A few tips on how to structure a lone working policy document
Policies need to follow a standard format to make sure there is coherency and consistency between policies. Perhaps your company already has a standard policy template and thus you will not need to start from scratch. The below are some of the things to keep in mind when producing a lone working policy:
- Write the sentences in clear language and in the third person
- Do not use words that imply optionality, like “may” or “should”
- Do not include data that will be out of date at some point, like names or website addresses
- The style of the document should ideally match other policy documents within your company
Creating a quality lone working policy
The lone working policy should be developed as an actual extension to the lone working risk assessment. This lone working policy document will need to include the risk assessment and the procedures you have implemented to reduce the identified risks.
The risk assessment
Managers and supervisors of departments where workers are carrying out their jobs alone need to have completed a lone worker risk assessment that identifies potential risks and outlines how such risks will be tackled and managed. Managers and supervisors are the ones responsible for guaranteeing that the risk assessment is thoroughly completed. Where workers are carrying out their duties in a community setting or in patients’ homes, a dynamic risk assessment needs to be completed to help identify significant safety and health hazards or potential risks. It is key that any substantial risks or hazards identified are documented, monitored and managed. Managers and supervisors need to guarantee that all department lone worker risk assessments are properly reviewed at least once per year or at any time in case there:
- Has been an incident or near miss that involves a lone worker
- Is a change to the local legislation or arrangements when it comes to lone workers
- Are new potential risks or hazards for the lone worker