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The aloneness of a lone worker

Did you ever stop to think about how someone who works alone, even for a short time can be isolated from help? No means of making a phone call? Out of phone signal range? Unconscious? Attacked, ill, terrified?

But before we start, please look at the above graphic. What does this make you think? 

Have you made a quick conclusion that the person had been attacked? Perhaps then you may think that this person may not fall into the category of lone worker for your workplaces.

But now think again; might this be a lone worker with a pre-existing medical condition? Might they be electrocuted? Perhaps they have they fallen? Or is the lone worker the viewer and might the prone person actually be a threat, perhaps feigning injury? 

Many of us are lone workers at some time and the degree of exposure to harm and lack of ability to seek help can vary enormously.

Hopefully, some thoughts are now provoked, so here are five questions you should ask about the personal safety of employees (and that includes directors, managers, supervisors as well).

1     Do your employees carry out any tasks that could put them at risk? eg, do they deal with cash or carry drugs or expensive gadgets or maybe they may  have to refuse people something or give them bad news?

2     If they are ever alone, do you have a system for them to get help in case of accident, illness etc?

3     Could the location where your employees work put them at risk? eg, Do they work in remote locations or high crime areas? Are they in frontline positions, such as on reception, alone for all or part of the day?

4     Does someone in the company know where they are and who they are with at all times – and if they don't return to the office/respond to your calls/arrive at an appointment when expected, does their manager/colleagues know what action to take?

5     Have any staff who may have to deal with violence and aggression had insufficient training in how to defuse it or contain it until they can either exit the situation or help can get to them?


If the answer to any of the above is yes, or you are not sure,  you then need to ask, is there a suitable written personal safety policy in place within the company, which specifies identified risks to staff and how they are to be managed? And do the managers and staff know about it?

For more information about how to produce a written personal safety policy, carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment or provide suitable training such as the CIEH Conflict Resolution and Personal Safety, Level 2 award. Our trainer in this subject is not only a health and safety trainer, he is also a retired police officer. Or to know more about safety systems for lone workers, please contact us via the phone or our contact above.