Lone workers have to face the same risk hazards at work as anyone else, but there is greater vulnerability for loan workers of these hazards if things go wrong. To control the “Risks for Lone Worker” and to keep them healthy and safe is the responsibility of them who employs lone workers, or engages them.
Lone workers work all by themselves in the absence of superficial or definitive supervision. Anybody who works alone is considered as a lone worker. They exist in all sectors.
These workers are usually independent contractors, freelancers or self-employed.
Lone Worker Include:
- People work separately from others, e.g. in factories, warehouses, some research and training establishments, leisure centres or fairgrounds.
- People who work away from their fixed base, such as on construction, installation, maintenance and cleaning work, electrical repairs, lift repairs, painting and decorating, vehicle recovery, etc. Engineers, assessors and delivery drivers of equipment and supplies who attend construction projects.
- People work in indissoluble incorporations or in fixed establishments where only one person works on the premises, like small workshops, kiosks, petrol stations, shops and home-workers
- Visiting service workers, such as professionals visiting to domestic and commercial premises, rent collectors, postal staff, social workers, home helps, district nurses, pest control workers, drivers, engineers, architects, estate agents, sales representatives etc.
- Agricultural and forestry workers
- People who work outside normal hours, e.g. cleaners, security, special production, maintenance or repair staff, etc.
Physical and Psychological “Risks for Loan Worker”
Hazards that lone workers may encounter include:
- accidents or emergencies arising out of the work, including inadequate provision of first aid
- sudden illnesses
- inadequate provision of rest, hygiene and welfare facilities
- physical violence from members of the public and/or intruders
Lone working can negatively impact on employees’ work-related stress levels and their mental health. Most of the lone workers are likely to experience long, unsociable hours, high physical and mental demands, and often long periods of sedentary work and irregular eating habits. All of these factors may have adverse health consequences for workers, such as musculoskeletal disorders, stress, tiredness and fatigue, as well as issues associated with poor or irregular eating habits.
The Stress Management include factors such as relationships with, and support from, other workers and managers. If these are not managed properly, they can lead to work-related stress. Stress relies on understanding what is ‘normal behaviour’ and abnormal behaviour or symptoms of an employee.
If contact with coworkers or supervisor or manager is poor, employees may feel disconnected, isolated or abandoned, which can affect their performance and potentially their stress levels or mental health.
Establishing a Healthy and Safe Working to minimize the “Risk for Lone Workers”
While establishing safe working arrangements for lone workers, employers need to know the law and standards that may apply to their specific work activity.
Establishing a healthy and safe working environment for lone workers can be different from organising the health and safety of other workers. To ensure safety of lone workers, you should consider the following:
- Concluding whether the workplace itself presents a risk to them.
- Assessing areas of risk including violence, manual handling, and the medical suitability of the individual to work alone.
- Requirements for training, levels of experience and how best to monitor and supervise them;
- Up to date systems installation to immediate response to any incident.
- Employees and some self-employed workers also trained to take reasonable care of themselves and other people affected by their work activities and to co-operate with their employers.
- Implementing a robust system to ensure a lone worker has returned to their base or home once their work is completed.
- There is no legal requirement to conduct a specific, separate risk assessment for lone workers. However, you have a duty to include risks to lone workers in your general risk assessment and take steps to manage “Risks for Loan Worker” where necessary.
- Employers should provide training, supervision, monitoring and support for lone workers, monitor their health regularly and adapt their work to accommodate any individual health needs.
Assessing potential risks and measures to control them
“Risks for Lone Worker” can be managed by
- Taking steps to ensure risks are removed where possible, applying relevant control measures, using work equipment with complete care and providing instruction, training and supervision.
- Reviewing risk assessments periodically and updating them after any significant changes in application or equipment.
- Pondering high-risk activities where at least one other person may need to be present.
Such as: working in a confined space; working near exposed live electricity conductors; working in diving operations, vehicles carrying explosives or fumigation.
- Taking account of regular work and emergencies, the experience and relevant training of the workers in their role and in working alone. Are the worker is more vulnerable, for example are young, pregnant, disabled or a trainee.
- Thinking about the work they are carrying out, where the work will happen and what triggers an impact, the people they may come into contact with, how this may impact on the risk who will be involved.
- Considering the environment the worker is working in.
Does the workplace present a specific risk to the worker? Is the work in a rural or isolated area? Is there a safe way in or out for one person working outside normal hours? Does the worker have adequate and reliable means to call for help?
- Keeping in touch with lone workers through regular meetings, or provide other opportunities to share concerns.
- Including lone workers in social events and work or team updates.
- A lone worker’s first language and a workplace culture may be very different from that of their country of origin. You should confirm that suitable arrangements are in place to provide clear communications, especially in an emergency. Employer must ensure workers have received and understood the information, instruction and training they need to work safely.
- If a lone worker has a medical condition, indicate that some lone workers should carry first aid equipment and/or may need first aid training (including how to administer first aid to themselves). They should also have access to adequate first aid facilities.
Lone Worker Working From Home
Employers have the same responsibility for the safety and health of employees who work from home as for any other employees. That is providing supervision, education and training and implementing enough control measures to protect the homeworker. You should accept liability for accident or injury of a homeworker as for any other employee.
If they’re self-employed Health and safety law may not apply to them but they will need to check.
Training for Loan Worker
Training should be strategic where there is restricted supervision to control, guide and help in uncertain, unexpected situations. It may also be crucial in enabling people to cope with potential exposure to violence and aggression.
Training should be relevant to the work activity. They need to be sufficiently experienced and fully understand the risks and safety measures involved in their work. They are able to set the limits to what can and cannot be done while working alone.
Training must include:
- use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- health surveillance
- first-aid kits and training
- Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s)
- locking and securing place of work
- correct incident reporting procedures
Training ensures that workers are:
- Competent to deal with the requirements of the job
- Suitably trained in the use of any technical solutions provided.
- Able to recognise when to seek advice from elsewhere.
- Capable in dealing with new situations.
- They can consider the range of possible control measures and what action to take.
Lone Workers’ Responsibilities
Lone workers themselves have a responsibility to help their employer fulfil this duty to avoid the “Risks For Lone Worker” so they should:
- Co-operate with their employer’s safety and health procedures
- Take good care to look after their own safety
- Use tools and other equipment properly, in accordance with any relevant safety instructions and training and health
- Safeguard the safety and health of other people affected by their work
- Not misuse equipment provided for their safety and health
- Report all accidents, injuries, near-misses and other dangerous occurrences
Control Measures To Minimize The Risks For Lone Worker
The control measures to be implemented to eliminate/minimize the identified risks may include:
- communication is very important: mobile phone, telephone or radio
- controlled periodic checks
- Automatic warning devices e.g. panic alarms, no movement alarms, automatic distress message systems, i.e. pre-recorded message sent if not actively cancelled by operative, etc.
- Instruction and training in proper procedures, e.g. code words for potentially violent situations when combined with mobile phone communication.
- provision of counselling
Provisions for Lone Workers In The Case Of an Emergency
- Emergency procedures should be established and employees trained for them.
- Lone workers should be capable of responding correctly to emergencies. Risk assessment should identify foreseeable incidents.
- Information about emergency procedures and danger areas should be given to lone workers.
- Lone workers should have quick access to adequate first-aid facilities and mobile workers should carry a first-aid kit for treating minor injuries.
Special Factors For Lone Workers Working At A Remote Location / In Isolation
For a lone worker at a remote location or in isolation, the following factors must be considered:
- How long should the work take and how frequently should the worker report in
- Has the worker a safe means of travel to and from the location, especially out of normal hours
- Can emergency services approach the location without hindrance Procedures for responding to emergencies
- Is there access to adequate rest, hygiene, refreshment, welfare and first aid facilities\
Many are lone workers, working to deadlines and exposed to specific work-related risks. As an employer, you are responsible for the health, safety and welfare at work of all your workers, and this applies to any contractors, volunteers or self-employed people. These responsibilities cannot be transferred to any other person, including to those people who work alone.
It might be safe to work alone. However, you should think about and deal with any health and safety risks before people are allowed to do so.
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