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Posted by David Cant on July 20, 2012
Working Alone Safety
Lone working is fully legal and there are no restrictions in place by the Health and Safety Executive claiming no one is allowed to work without a colleague or supervision. The problems may come in employees are working alone without having a workplace risk assessment performed first, or if the dangers and risks require that an extra person or people must be present for the type of work to commence.
Regulations Relating to Lone Workers
If you would like to learn more about legislation and lone workers it’s worth knowing about the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations. These two regulations have sections which relate to this type of working scenario and knowing the sections can help to reduce problems and incidents from arising, providing they are followed.
Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work says that a duty of care on employers must be applied to employees’ welfare and health and safety when they are working. Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations says that all employers have to assess the risks that employees are exposed to and the risks of people who are not in their employment who may be affected by the way work is conducted.
No Lone Workers Should Be Put at More Risk
While there are no laws which prohibit lone working, the regulations must be applied to the work. Therefore before anyone is set to work on their own risk assessments must be completed. Other health and safety measures must also be used which may include providing adequate training, the supervision of the workers and the provision of suitable protective equipment. Control measures and the risk assessments must be performed and monitored from time to time to ensure the safety of the person who is working on their own.
After the risk assessment has been performed it is essential to ensure that the findings are used to use the right control measures. Risk assessments may show that the work is too dangerous to be performed by just one person, and if this is a case it’s essential that extra help is provided. Lone workers must be informed of the results of the assessment and he control measures being put in place. This will give them the opportunity to decide if they are happy to continue working without the presence of another person.
It is essential that lone workers are not put at higher risk than other employees within an organisation. Precautions must be established which cover both normal conditions and emergency situations. Therefore some of the questions that must be answered include:
- Will the lone worker be able to get in and out safely?
- Is there the need for additional equipment to improve the access to the location where work is being carried out
- Are there any special risks which will affect a lone worker?
- Are women or young workers put risk by carrying out the work on their own?
- Is the lone worker in good enough health to work alone?
- What will happen if the lone worker should become ill or be involved in an accident?
If you are concerned about lone workers in your organisation call the health and safety consultants on 0800 1488 677 for advice.