Published on 21st January 2014 by Gemma Harding

Lone worker protection is a legal requirement, stipulating that employers must have procedures in place in order to “reasonably prevent harm” to employees. Company bosses must take the necessary steps to ensure that, with the considerations of money, time and effort, your employees are protected from harm.

1 Anyone working alone is a lone worker.

That is, anyone working without close or direct supervision qualifies as a lone worker, or employees who spend extended periods of time alone. This applies to out of hours staff (such as cleaners or security personnel), shop workers or kiosk staff, workers involved in construction, repair and maintenance or installation.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1999, employers are required to provide adequate protection for lone workers, being responsible for the health and safety for all their employees.

2 It falls to the employer to control risks.

In order to control and limit the risks your employees are exposed to on a daily basis, you will need to implement a risk assessment strategy. In order to analyse how much risk your teams are at each day, you will first need to identify hazards.

3 Hazards are counted as anything that could potentially cause harm.

From ladders to heavy lifting to electrical equipment, hazards put your employees at risk. What about their working environment is placing your employees at higher risk? After you have identified the hazards, the next step is to consider the necessary precautions to limit the risk.

This could range from limiting access to potentially dangerous working environments, to providing protective clothing to workers in close proximity with harmful chemicals. Alternatively, you might simply arrange a proactive or reactive telephone answering service to ensure consistent communication with your remote workers.

4 Your employees are not without responsibility

Your employees are legally required to cooperate with any procedures implemented by employers for the purposes of health and safety. For instance, they must comply with any safety equipment, regulations and rules instated in order to reduce risk, whether that applies to uniform, work practices or regular phone calls.

Health and safety may not be a glamorous topic, but it is important, as well as being a legal requirement. It is in every employer’s best interests to look after their workers, establishing them as a credible person or firm to work for and, crucially, building trust with existing employees.