Workers who are out of sight should never be out of mind.
In these difficult financial times you may be considering doing a little bit extra to boost your income. As a business manager or owner you may wish to offer extra services such as longer opening hours in order to retain or entice custom to your business. Alternatively, you may be a member of staff who is prepared to work on at the end of a normal working day in order to supplement your wages.
Whatever the situation it is important that business owners and managers as well as members of staff consider the potential hazards of lone working.
What is lone working?
The Health and Safety Executive defines lone workers as those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision. Lone workers are found in a range of situations and this would potentially include opening or closing a business, home visits and working on at the end of a normal working day.
What should you do?
The first thing to do is to complete a risk assessment and involve your staff in this process. Remember to consider ways which would avoid lone working altogether where possible. E.g. could it be arranged for 2 people to open or close your business?
Where lone working is unavoidable consider the following as part of your risk assessment;
How will contact with the lone worker be maintained during and at the end of the proposed works (for example phone calls)?
Is there a risk of violence?
Are young, pregnant or disabled workers particularly at risk if they work alone?
Are there any other reasons why the individual (for example a trainee) may be more vulnerable than others?
Do any staff members have any existing medical conditions which could make it unsuitable to work alone?
Are you adequately insured for lone working?
What happens if a person becomes ill, has an accident or there is an emergency?
Remember the points above are only a starting point and you may need to consider other circumstances. Therefore it is important that you are competent to carry out a risk assessment.
If you still feel you need help please feel free to get in touch and one of experts will be happy to help.
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