In 2020 alone, over 688,000 incidents of violence at work were recorded in the UK by the HSE. Not all of these involved Lone Workers, however, they are subject to increased risk since there is no support from colleagues to step in should an incident occur and perpetrators may take advantage of that vulnerability.
With the Festive Season upon us - when businesses may operate on Skeleton Crew, late night opening hours, or when you may be out celebrating with your Teams and encounter individuals intoxicated or under external influence – it’s even important to review your Lone Worker Risk Assessment and engage with staff to ensure their personal safety is always considered. We’ve put together some top tips for Personal Safety to remember at this time of year when Lone Working may be more frequent.
Top 5 tips for Lone Working & Personal Safety:
1. Establish agreed communication channels and complete regular welfare checks. Make sure a Manager/colleague/family member knows what time you’re expected to/from work so they can raise an alarm if you don’t arrive. A quick text to confirm arrival/departure or checking in on a Group Chat takes only a couple of seconds. Shift Managers should have regular contact with all working employees and any non-communication or non-compliance should be treated as an urgent requirement to visit site to check on staff welfare.
If you’re travelling between locations, make sure you’ve planned your route and think about any potential risks. You should also make sure you’re fully aware of your organisation’s health and safety policies and procedures – they’re there to keep you safe.
2. Ensure you’re appropriately prepared for bad weather, for example, carry a torch (with batteries that have been checked), wear warm clothing in winter, ensure your vehicle has a breakdown kit and blanket in case of breakdown on your commute or work journey.
3. Always carry a device to ensure you can quickly call for help in an emergency – this could be a mobile phone, or a Personal Safety device/App that allows you to track & share your location and raise an alarm.
4. Display Emergency contact details to your phone either on your Lock Screen Emergency contacts, or under saved contact ICE (in case of emergency). Download an app such as what3words to your phone to ensure you can always pinpoint and communicate your exact location.
When walking or cycling, stick to well-lit, popular routes even if they take longer and make sure you have appropriate reflective clothing for when it's dark. When travelling by public transport, try to sit in a place where there are other people around and know where the exits are while aware of what’s going on around you. Try to avoid wearing headphones or walking along while looking at your phone. If you identify a potential risk early, you can take steps to avoid it.
Try to avoid carrying valuables with you. If you do need to carry valuables, make sure they’re stored out of sight and if someone tries to grab your bag or your mobile phone, just let it go. Your safety is more important.
Always try to park in a well-lit, accessible area, have your keys to hand when returning to your car and lock your car doors once inside.
Remember your dynamic risk assessments and trust your instincts. If you feel uneasy about entering a building or carrying out a specific task, there’s probably a valid reason why. Either remove yourself from the situation or ensure you have support available should something happen.
Slow down! We all rush to get things done which can result in an increased risk of slips, trips, falls, car accidents or substandard dynamic risk assessments. Slow down and contact a colleague if you’re struggling.
5. Report any incidents to the police using 101 or use 999 for emergencies. Don't take chances and always put your safety first.
For more information visit the HSE Lone Workers page
Stay safe, stay positive and please remember that KVF are here to assist you.