As an employer, you are responsible for the safety and well-being of your employees. It is not uncommon for safety precautions in the workplace to depend on employees looking out for each other or formalised buddy systems. Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, employers are responsible for managing risks to employees who work alone.
In order to manage the risks of working alone, your organisation must provide ample training, supervision and monitoring of lone employees. It is important to maintain regular communication with these employees and respond promptly to any incidents or concerns. If a lone employee will be working at someone else’s workplace, you should ask that employer about any potential risks or control measures that should be known by your employee.
Some high-risk tasks should never be done by a lone employee, such as:
- Working in a confined space
- Working near live electricity conductors
- Diving operations
- Working in vehicles carrying explosives
When managing risk for lone employees, the following potential issues may be particularly prevalent:
- Violence—Protect workers from violence by providing them with training in personal safety or violence prevention, and minimising risk factors, such as employees carrying cash or conducting work during late-night or early-morning hours.
- Stress and mental health—Help lone employees manage their mental health and stress by staying in touch regularly so that managers can recognise signs of stress or mental health issues as soon as possible.
- Medical conditions—If employees have health conditions, it is important to consider whether they are safe to work alone. Think about the tasks and potential issues that may affect the employee and consult with a medical professional.
Employees who work alone may be more vulnerable to a variety of risk factors that could result in serious health issues or injuries. It is important that your organisation recognises the different dangers and hazards that may affect these employees and takes the necessary steps to provide safety and security.
This blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as compliance or legal advice. In relation to any particular problem which they may have, readers are advised to seek specific advice. Further, the law may have changed since first publication and the reader is cautioned accordingly. Content by Zywave, Inc. provided by TH March.