Feedback on our Lone Worker Personal Safety Training
“Thank you again for such an informative and practical couple of days learning about working alone in safety, which I feel has really benefited my learning and ability to face certain situations. I really feel it is the best training I have ever had and I hope my feedback reflects that.”
Adult Social Work Professional
Peterborough City Council
Working alone is not in itself against the law and it will often be safe to do so. However, the law requires employers to consider carefully, and then deal with, any health and safety risks for people working alone. Employers are responsible for the health, safety and welfare at work of all their workers. They also have responsibility for the health and safety of any contractors or self-employed people doing work for them. These responsibilities cannot be transferred to any other person, including those people who work alone. Workers have responsibilities to take reasonable care of themselves and other people affected by their work activities and to co-operate with their employers in meeting their legal obligations.
Employers have a duty to assess risks to lone workers working alone and take steps to avoid or control risks where necessary. This must include:
- involving workers when considering potential risks and measures to control them;
- taking steps to ensure risks are removed where possible, or putting in place control measures, eg carefully selecting work equipment to ensure the worker is able to perform the required tasks in safety;
- instruction, training and supervision;
- reviewing risk assessments periodically or when there has been a significant change in working practice.
This may include:
- being aware that some working alone tasks may be too difficult or dangerous to be carried out by an unaccompanied worker;
- where a lone worker is working at another employer’s workplace, informing that other employer of the risks and the required control measures;
- when a risk assessment shows it is not possible for the work to be conducted safely by a lone worker, addressing that risk by making arrangements to provide help or back-up.
Risk assessment should help employers decide on the right level of supervision. There are some high-risk activities where at least one other person may need to be present. Examples include:
- working alone in a confined space, where a supervisor may need to be present, along with someone dedicated to the rescue role;
- working alone at or near exposed live electricity conductors;
- working alone in the health and social care sector dealing with unpredictable client behaviour and situations.
Employers who have five or more employees must record the significant findings of all working alone risk assessments.
Employers also need to be aware of any specific law that prohibits lone working applying in their industry. Examples include supervision in diving operations, vehicles carrying explosives and fumigation work.
Further information about controlling risks of working alone can be found on the HSE website at: www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/.