Do you have a Lone Working Policy?
As an employer you have responsibility for the health, safety and welfare of all your workers. This means making sure they are protected from anything that may cause harm and you must do whatever is reasonably practicable to achieve this. Your Lone Working Policy captures how you as the employer protect your lone workers and provides guidance for working alone.
What is a Lone Working Policy and why do I need one?
A Lone Working Policy is a practical, written document for implementation across your organisation. Typically it is a subsection of your organisation’s wider Health and Safety Policy. The purpose of the policy is to educate lone workers and managers on what lone working is, roles and responsibilities, risks and risk mitigation and how to report concerns.
The Policy should clearly explain the expectations and standards everyone should adhere to when working alone, including precautions, equipment and procedures, to stay safe on the job and improve workplace safety.
Before you begin to write your Lone Working Policy you need to understand the risks your lone workers face. Inherently lone workers are more at risk than those working in a group simply because they work alone. The Health & Safety Executive note in their latest lone worker guidance ‘Lone working: Protecting those who work alone’ that the main risks facing a lone worker depend on:
- their working environment
- the risk level of their job
- stress and mental health.
Here is a helpful video from HSE which highlights how you can support lone workers:
It is important that you create an open environment so that workers are able to discuss any underlying concerns or problems for you to consider. Including lone workers in the development of their risk assessments will ensure they are fit for purpose, and working through that process will help you to understand what the risks are and how best to reduce them.
Read our ‘Lone worker guidance’ article which highlights our top five tips to begin to assess the needs of your lone workers.
You may also find these health and safety guidelines set out by HSE useful.
What should I include in my Lone Working Policy?
Purpose: Outline the purpose of your policy. You may wish to include specific objectives for example to improve awareness of safety issues to decrease the number of incidents experienced, to reform incident management or to launch hazard reporting to prevent accidents from happening.
Definitions: Include a definition of what lone working is and give relevant examples in your business which your employees, contractors, freelancers and managers can relate to so they understand how this policy directly concerns them.
Commitment: Confirm your organisation’s commitment from the top to health and safety and in particular to supporting safe lone working.
Risks: Summarise the types of risks that lone workers in your organisation may be exposed to including:
- environmental risks such as hazardous terrain, harsh weather conditions
- specific activity related risks such as quad bike use
- people based risks such as aggression.
The risks relevant to each individual lone worker and how to manage them will be identified in your risk assessments.
Control measures: Describe the control measures you have implemented to ensure lone working is undertaken safely.
Support: Summarise the training, supervision and support you will provide to ensure lone workers and managers can implement the control measures successfully and adhere to this Lone Working Policy and Procedures. Be clear how this will be enforced if employees do not comply.
Responsibilities: Clarify that everyone has a Duty of Care – the employer and workers all carry Duty of Care responsibilities.
Read the article: Who is liable to protect lone workers?
It is worth noting that your responsibility as an employer extends to contractors and self employed staff who are working for you. Failure to protect those in your care can result in fines up to £1 million or in some extreme cases you could face prison sentences. Remember to share your Lone Working Policy with any third parties that work for you.
Read the article: What lone workers need to know
Lone Working Procedures
Your Procedures should explain in detail:
Implementation: How lone workers and managers will operate and how they will use the agreed control measures on a day-to-day basis.
Reporting: How lone workers can raise concerns, how they should report hazards and near misses to ensure issues are dealt with quickly and effectively.
Escalation Procedures: What to do if a lone worker is missing or if they have an accident.
How can Trackplot help?
Our purpose at Trackplot is to help lone workers operating in rural, isolated and hazardous locations to keep safe and return home well each day. Our lone worker monitoring solution is designed specifically for outdoor lone workers enabling them to keep in touch wherever they are.
To create a sensible approach to health and safety you need a sound Lone Working Policy supported by practical Procedures. We are here to help you provide a safe working environment and we can assist you in developing your Lone Working Policy and Procedures.