Lone workers can be at additional risk at work because in an emergency there is no one to raise the alarm or provide assistance.
The latest guidance from the HSE, which was updated in March 2020, states that as an employer you must manage any health and safety risks before people can work alone. This applies to anyone contracted to work for you, including self-employed people.
It is important that you adhere to the legal responsibilities for lone worker safety. Failure to do so can result in substantial fines, reputational damage and, for severe breaches, custodial sentences.
There are several laws which hold the employer responsible for protecting the safety of everyone in their employment:
- The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
- The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
- The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007
The HSE guidance states that under the management of health and safety at work regulations, you must manage the risk to lone workers. This involves thinking about who is classed as a lone worker and which hazards could harm those working alone. You must also train, supervise and monitor lone workers as well as keep in touch with them and respond to any incidents.
For more information on lone worker legislation visit our Guide to Lone Working.
What are the roles of lone workers?
HSE guidance describes lone workers as employees those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision, for example:
- as delivery drivers, health workers or engineers
- as security staff or cleaners
- in warehouses or petrol stations
- at home
Lone workers are found within a range of industries, including: