There are 6 million lone workers in the UK and on average,
160 lone workers are assaulted every day.Office for National Statistics
What is a lone worker
A lone worker is defined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as being “Those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision” and that “Lone workers should not be put at more risk than other employees”. Procedures must be put in place to monitor lone workers as effective means of communication are essential.
Is it legal to work alone and is it safe?
Working alone is not in itself against the law and it will often be safe to do so. However, the law requires employers to consider carefully, and then deal with, any health and safety risks for people working alone.
Every employer has a duty to protect their lone workers as a legal requirement.
Every employer has a duty to protect their Lone Workers, as a legal requirement.
Health and Safety law (H&S at work Act 1974) outlines this responsibility very clear – each sector and industry will have their own employee specific laws.
The Office for National Statistics has outlined that there could be at least 8 million Lone Workers in the UK, but this could potentially be a much higher figure.
Protecting your employees is a huge priority, the legal obligation makes this essential.
If your employee(s) are hurt as a result of fulfilling their work then consequences as an employer could cripple a business, in such a worst case scenario could be a corporate manslaughter charge in a court of law and or a significant fine, up to £20 million..
The cost of protecting your employees and fulfilling your legal obligation is far less than the risk of losing your reputation, revenue and moral obligation.
Ensuring your systems and processes are in place can be the easiest solution to offering protection to Lone Workers.
There are examples of Lone Workers across all sectors
• Agricultural and forestry
• Animal welfare officers
• Construction workers
• District nurses
• Estate agents
• Home helps
• Parking officers
• Painters and decorators
• Pest control workers
• Postal staff
• Rent collectors
• Social workers
• Sales representatives
• Service workers
There is a wide range of organisations and charities that can provide you with useful advise and support.
The Suzy Lamplugh Trust help and support people to stay safe from violence and aggression through the provision of free safety tips, they also manage the National Stalking Helpline and delivering community projects.
The main law governing health and safety at work in the United Kingdom is the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act). This places general duties on you to do what is reasonably practicable to ensure health and safety. The Health and Safety Executive is responsible for ensuring these laws are followed, they offer free support and advise for employers.