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There are many situations that can lead to an employee working alone. But whatever the reason - whether it’s a one-off or simply the nature of their job role - as an employer, you have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of such ‘lone workers’.
In this blog, we’re going to look at the many reasons lone working can arise, what your legal responsibilities are as an employer and the key steps you can take to be compliant.
We’re also going to highlight two common scenarios that can sometimes be overlooked by employers, to help you ensure you have everything covered.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) defines lone workers as: ‘those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision’.
According to the guidance, this includes individuals who are working in a fixed environment, such as a kiosk, factory or shop, or out of hours in an office, such as cleaners. It also applies to mobile workers who work away from a fixed based, such as sales reps.
If you have premises that staff attend to carry out their duties, then there is the chance that at some point they may be on site alone.
The internet has transformed the way many companies now do business and the world has become a far smaller place. Customers have an expectation that companies will always be ‘open for business’, which is in turn affecting the way firms operate - and when.
This is set against a backdrop of economic uncertainty, where competition is fierce, and firms may feel they have to go for every opportunity – no matter when it may land. So, having someone there outside of normal office hours, is now a common occurrence.
Here are some of the most common scenarios:
But there are two other reasons for lone working that can sometimes be overlooked by employers within their planning:
Certain employees may be tasked with holding keys to the premises and have responsibility for unlocking and locking up the site.
Team members may also be responsible for holding keys and attending the site in the case of an alarm or other emergencies (such as a burst pipe) that occur out of hours.
(By the way….we can support your business with both these scenarios and many others too. Find out more about our Key Holding & Alarm Response and Locks & Unlocks services here.)
Whatever the reason for the lone working may be, as an employer you will always be legally responsible for the health, safety and wellbeing of team members. The law requires all employers to think about and deal with any health and safety risks before people are allowed to work alone.
According to the HSE, the considerations that need to be made include:
To ensure you are compliant and meeting your legal obligations as an employer, here are some key actions and considerations you need to make.
As an employer ourselves, with a fleet of mobile security officers who are out on the road 365 days of the year, managing lone working is something we know a lot about, here at Venture Security.
Our mobile patrol officers carry personal alarms and there is always someone at the end of the phone line, no matter what time it may be. We also operate a strict check-in system, at the start and end of each shift and every hour in between, our vans are fitted with GPS trackers and our officers carry GPS locatable panic alarms.
In turn, our mobile patrol officers help our customers to manage their own lone worker responsibilities. Our highly trained team can hold a set of keys to a clients’ premises and accompany employees in their duties, or manage locks and alarm responses for them removing the need for lone workers.
A key benefit of this is that it takes the pressure and responsibility off employees. Our team can respond to an alarm very quickly and every officer is also trained in conflict and crime scene management, so no matter what they are confronted with, they are ready to take appropriate action. They also have the backing of an experienced head office team behind them at all times.
Interested in finding out more? Call us for an informal chat about your security requirements on 01264 391538, or browse our full range of commercial services here.
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Case study – Mobile patrols in action for Salisbury firm
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