women lone worker calling for help on her mobile phone

Supporting Lone Workers in the Workplace

Supporting lone workers in the workplace

Lone Working will increase as more and more organisations move to mobile working.
Whilst lone working is not illegal employers have a legal responsibility to identify foreseeable risks posed to lone workers.
These risks need preventing or reduced to keep lone workers safe and protected.
Monitoring of the lone worker is a key part of ensuring their safety.
Personal safety training forms a major part of supporting lone workers. It increases their skills and confidence when dealing with conflict.

What are the Risks to Lone Workers

Most lone workers believe their greatest risk at work is from ‘workplace violence’. This consists of
  • verbal abuse
  • threatening behaviour
  • physical assault
|  There were 698,000 incidents of violence at work comprising 329,000 assaults and 369,000 threats.
Scotland has no official Government figures for violence against workers
|   One of the greatest risks a lone worker faces is sudden illness or injury
Many managers responsible for lone workers fail to support staff.
Proper risk assessments of the lone worker role are not undertaken.
Many foreseeable risks are not identified. These place staff in continued danger as they go about their daily duties.
Some managers struggle to put in place risk control measures.
There are simple measures you can adopt as an employer to ensure your ‘lone workers’ are safe and well.
Carry out a proper Risk assessment process involving staff.

Risk assessment of role

Lone Workers are the best people to help complete a risk assessment of their role.
Ask them to write down the
  • Person(s)
  • Objects
  • Places
  • Situations
which make them fearful for their safety at work
Now that you know the risks. Can you stop them happening? If so stop them, if not put in place measures to reduce the risks identified by staff.
That’s the risk assessment completed now to look at the proper monitoring of lone working staff.

Monitoring of the Lone Worker

Almost all organisations will have policies, procedures and risk assessments in place.
Often they have no means in place to track their workforce. This places the workers at great personal risk.
If workers come to harm there is an increased risk of legal action and damage to reputation.
It is most important that a rigid monitoring system for Lone Worker’s is in place.
This could consist of putting in place a
‘Duty Desk’ who are responsible for
  • Logging staff on and off duty
  • Logging addresses including postcode, where the lone worker is visiting
  • Checking information databases on behalf of lone workers
  • Issue a ‘Code Word’ or ‘Code Phrase’ to be used by the Lone Worker to alert colleagues in times of danger
  • Arranging a support colleague to make it a ‘two-person’ visit
  • Knowing the Escalation process for ‘Missing’ workers
  • Having easy access to ‘Lone Worker Information Data’
  • Contacting the Emergency services on behalf of the lone worker


Lone worker equipment

There are some important pieces of equipment that every lone worker should have with them

  • Mobile phone – Fully charged – consider a small recharger pack
  • Programme important numbers for quick access to the phone
  • Carry a small LED torch/flashlight – (Mobile phone torches use up battery power)
  • Carry cash for an emergency eg – Taxi
  • Protective nitrile gloves
  • Small plastic door wedge – keeps doors slightly ajar to enable access and egress.
  • Personal First Aid kit carried in bag or in vehicle


Exit strategies

People sometimes stay too long in potentially dangerous situations because they cannot think of a way to get out of the place.

A Lone worker should always have an ‘exit strategy’ – a prepared reason for leaving a situation.

It has to be ready so that it comes quickly to mind and be something that will not escalate a situation.

It may sound like “My boss has arranged to see me here..’Ill need to go down to the car park and meet her”


Lone Worker Monitoring Technology

Today using remote monitoring technology is the most robust solution to ensure worker safety.
It saves money as less staff carry out the administration and monitoring of lone workers.

How does remote monitoring technology work?

  • Staff download an app to their mobile device which is then monitored 24/7/365 by an ARC -Alarm Receiving Centre.
  • Every workday staff log on and off duty with the ARC via their mobile device.
  • The lone worker logs each address they visit.
  • Their time of arrival and departure from the address is also logged

Escalation Process  – When the Lone Worker ‘goes missing’

What happens if the ARC operator is
  • unable to contact the lone worker
  • the lone worker fails to update their status
  • fails to log ‘off duty’ at given time
If a lone worker fails to update their status to the ARC, an arranged escalation process begins.
  • The ARC makes a voice call followed by two text messages to the lone worker. This takes place over a period of ten minutes.
  • If the lone worker is still ‘missing’ Contact is then made to the lone worker’s management team.
The management team now have a ‘duty of care’ to begin searching for the worker to ensure their wellbeing.
  • This could mean two members of staff visiting the last known location of their colleague.
Th Police should only become involved if there is clear evidence that the lone worker has come to harm.
|    ‘It is not a Police function to ‘manage an organisation’s risk’

Getting Help in an Emergency

A lone worker has the automatic means to alert the ARC if they are in danger or an Emergency situation develops.
Help is at the touch of a button on their mobile device.
If there are signs that a lone worker has come to harm, the ARC has a direct link to Police 999 control rooms. GPS locators help locate the exact position of the lone worker. ARC operators can also ‘listen in’ to incidents and save conversations as evidence.
The operators can give the Emergency services vital information about the lone worker. This will include
  • physical description
  • medical conditions
  • vehicle make – colour – registration number

Lone Worker Data Card

Every organisation should ensure they have personal details of their lone workers. These should be up to date and include
  • physical description
  • medical conditions
  • vehicle make – colour – registration number
  • next of kin
  • home address
The data should be secure but accessible.
This information is only passed to the Police in situations where a worker has gone missing.

Personal Safety training

Staff should also undertake face to face personal safety training.
This should cover:
  • Recognising and Reducing risk
  • Dynamic risk assessment – Persons -Objects- Places -Situations
  • Understanding human behaviour
  • Communication skills
  • Safe positioning skills to avoid assault
  • Exit strategies
  • Defuse – Calm – Resolve emotive people and situations
  • Incident reporting

Some useful information


Learn more

Salvas always challenge the status quo on workplace violence, personal safety and lone working.
Thinking in a different way we help people learn simple new skills to stay safe at work.
Contact us by email or call us to find out how we can help you keep your Lone Workers safe and well in the workplace
E mail : info@salvas.co.uk                 Web: www.salvas.co.uk
woman alone in underground car park calling a friend on her mobile cell phone

woman lone worker calling for help on her mobilephone

Latest From Twitter

Follow us on