Communication with Lone Workers

Staying in touch with your workers is particularly important when considering the safety of lone workers, and especially around holiday times like Christmas when some workplaces may be operating at skeleton staff levels.

As an employer, you have a duty to consider and manage health and safety risks before people can work alone whether they are your employees, contractors, freelance or self-employed.

Lone workers are those who work alone without close or direct supervision, such as:

•  delivery drivers, health workers or engineers

•  security staff or cleaners

•  those in warehouses or petrol stations

•  those working from home

Due to the nature of lone working, there will always be greater risks for these workers without anyone to help them if things go wrong. So monitoring them and keeping in touch with them is vital to their health and safety. Ensure they understand any procedures and systems put in place to protect them such as:

•  when supervisors should visit or observe them – CCTV can be a useful tool

•  knowing where they are, with pre-agreed intervals of regular contact, using phones, radios, email etc

•  other devices for raising the alarm, operated manually or automatically

•  a reliable system to ensure they have returned to their base once they have completed their task

These systems and procedures should be regularly tested to ensure lone workers can be contacted or can get help should an emergency arise.

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