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Identifying your lone workers – understanding the roles & risks

Lone working
4 min read

Identifying your lone workers – understanding the roles & risks

Research has shown that 64% of UK employees who regularly work without close contact or supervision would not consider themselves a lone worker. That’s a lot of lone workers who don’t know their correct status. 

If your staff don’t see themselves as lone workers, they may not be taking their safety – and additional vulnerability – as seriously as they should. This is a major concern, as ultimately, you are responsible for their safety.

Written by Helen Down, StaySafe

Identifying hidden lone workers

When we think of lone workers we often imagine those working in complete isolation. Perhaps a security guard manning a building at night or a farmer working out in the middle of a field. However, lone working doesn’t always mean being completely alone.

Lone workers as those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision. This means that lone workers may very well operate in highly populated areas or alongside clients, customers and members of the public.

Narrowing the definition of lone workers down to just those who work in complete isolation can leave other, less obvious, lone working employees at risk.

What constitutes lone working and how can you identify lone workers in your organisation?

A lone worker is anyone working without the direct and immediate support of supervisors or colleagues. To put it simply, if an employee cannot be seen or heard by a colleague, they are lone working, whether that be for all or part of their working day.

Identifying your lone workers: key questions to ask

Some of your lone workers will be easy to identify by assessing work patterns and roles. However, there may be times where you may not even be aware that your employees are lone working. It may be useful to talk to your employees and ask the below questions to identify any ‘hidden lone workers’ in your organization.

  1. Do colleagues work in different parts of a building or site? E.g. two cleaners working on different floors.
  2. If working on a noisy site, will a colleague be able to see/hear another colleague if they need help?
  3. Do your employees travel alone during working hours?
  4. Are there times where employees working as pairs will be separated? E.g. taking separate lunch breaks.
  5. Will any of your employees be left working alone if a colleague is on leave?
  6. Are there times where an employee is left to man the shop floor alone?
  7. Are single employees left working late in the office or other work sites?

Once lone working practices have been identified, it is important that you risk assess each of these situations and put measures in place to ensure your employees are safe.

Understanding the risks

68% of organisations have experienced an incident involving a lone worker in the past three years, with a fifth of these incidents described as severe or very severe. In addition, nearly a quarter of staff feel unsafe at least once a year.

The types of risks faced by lone workers can vary depending on job role. Those out in a remote and completely isolated location are more exposed to environmental risks that could lead to an accident, while those working alongside members of the public or in a client’s home are at higher risk of experiencing violence and aggression.

Lone worker solutions like StaySafe can help to reduce the risks faced by lone workers by giving them a way to signal for – and receive – help quickly in an emergency.  

The StaySafe lone worker app and cloud-based monitoring hub gives you visibility of your employees’ locations in real time and has a range of alerts so that employees can get the help they need. 

Find out more about StaySafe 

 

Are you protecting your lone workers?

Our comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about lone working.
From identifying the lone workers in your organisation, to the risks they face in different environments, our lone worker guide will ensure you know how to keep your staff protected and meet your legal duty of care.
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Explore our range of lone worker solutions

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Helen Down

“Helen has worked within the lone worker industry for nearly a decade. During that time she has written extensively about health and safety, risk, legislation, and lone working – including the Lone Worker Landscape Report.

Helen’s background is in marketing for start-ups and SMEs, where she has enjoyed working as part of the leadership team to grow the business. Outside of work, Helen is a mum of two and loves to drink wine in peace.”

Looking for more information on protecting your lone workers?

We have a range of expert resources and topical blogs to help keep your lone working staff safe.

Guide to Lone Working

A comprehensive lone worker guide for employers, managers and the self employed.

Lone Worker Risk Assessment
An extensive guide to risk assessments for employers or managers of lone workers.
Three Questions to Ask When Purchasing a Lone Working Solution
An informative guide outlining everything you need to know when considering purchasing a lone working solution.

Find out more about StaySafe solutions

Lone Worker App

Our intuitive app allows employees to check in safely following a lone working session and raise an alert in an emergency.

Cloud Based Monitoring Hub
Our hub uses GPS to accurately locate your lone workers and provides you with real-time updates on their movements.
Wearable Technology
Pairing the app with V.BTTN is a great solution for anyone working at height, with gloves or machinery, where pushing a button may be a more convenient way of using the StaySafe app.
Satellite Tracking Devices
Our satellite tracking devices are designed for those regularly travelling to remote areas where you can’t even get a mobile signal.
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