Questions you should ask: Does the workplace present a specific risk to the

lone worker, for example due to temporary access

equipment, such as portable ladders or trestles that one person would have difficulty handling?

Is there a safe way in and out for one person,

eg for a lone person working out of hours where the workplace could be locked up?

Is there machinery involved in the work that one person cannot operate safely?

Are chemicals or hazardous substances being used that may pose a particular risk to the lone worker?

Does the work involve lifting objects too large for one person?

Is there a risk of violence and/or aggression?

Are there any reasons why the individual might be more vulnerable than others and be particularly at

risk if they work alone (for example if they are young, pregnant, disabled or a trainee)?

If the lone worker’s first language is not English,

are suitable arrangements in place to ensure clear communications, especially in an emergency?

foreseeable emergencies, for example, fire, equipment failure, illness and accidents.

How will the person be supervised? The extent of supervision required depends on the risks involved and the ability of the lone worker to identify and handle health and safety issues. The level of supervision needed is a management decision, which should be based on the findings of a risk assessment. An obvious statement is, the higher the risk, the greater the level of supervision required. It should not be left to individuals to decide whether they need assistance.

Monitoring Procedures must be put in place to monitor lone workers as effective means of communication are essential. These may include; supervisors periodically visiting and observing people working alone; pre-agreed intervals of regular contact between the lone worker and supervisor, using phones, radios or email, bearing in mind the worker’s understanding of English; manually operated or automatic warning devices which trigger if specific signals are not received periodically from the lone worker; and implementing robust system to ensure a lone worker has returned to their base or home once their task is completed.

“It should not be left to

individuals to decide whether they need assistance.”

forestry workers, along with service workers including social and medical workers, engineers, estate agents and sales or service representatives visiting domestic and commercial premises

How must employers control the risks? Employers have a duty to assess risks to lone workers and take steps to avoid or control risks where necessary. Employees should be involved when considering potential risks and the measure used to control them. Instructing, training and supervising workers must also be top of the agenda. When there has been a significant change in working practice a review of risk assessments should be an imperative.

It’s important to realise that some tasks may be too difficult or dangerous to be carried out by an unaccompanied worker. When a risk assessment shows it is not possible for the work to be conducted safely, there’s always an opportunity to manage the 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.

Employers who have five or more employees must record the significant findings of all risk assessments. Employers should take account of normal work and

Employers should have measures in place to ensure that effective communications are put in place. This could include supervisor visits to observe staff that are working alone, agreed contact or calls between the lone worker and the supervisor. In situations where the employer is managing large teams of remote or lone workers, visits and calls may not be an efficient way to monitor the whereabouts of individuals. A robust system needs to be implemented to ensure that the lone worker has clocked in and out of their designated location at the expected time.

Ezitracker is a time and attendance system that can assist employers in meeting their duty of care obligations to manage the health, safety and security of lone workers. The system safeguards lone workers by raising an alert to the supervisor if they fail to log out from the system, managing the risk and demonstrating a real commitment to their welfare.

With electronic staff monitoring such as Ezitracker, remote workers can log in and out of client sites using a variety of methods: landline, text, mobile app and biometric units. If a staff member fails to log in, an alert is raised so steps can be taken to get replacement staff on-site quickly. If they fail to log out, an alert is raised so supervisors can check their employee is safe or take appropriate action. TOMORROW’S FM | 37

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