Lone Worker Policy
(A pdf version of this policy is available for download here)
(Including Violence at Work)
St Stephen in Brannel Parish Council recognises that on occasions employees are required to work alone.
Under Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, St Stephen in Brannel Parish Council has a duty of care to advise and assess risk for workers when they are required to work by themselves.
The Health & Safety Executive define lone workers as
“those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision, for example:
- as delivery drivers, health workers or engineers
- as security staff or cleaners
- in warehouses or petrol stations
- at home”
No part of this policy will discriminate on the grounds of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, age, religion, politics, marital status, disability, or any other aspect likely to place any particular employee at a disadvantage.
This policy applies to all situations involving lone working arising in connection with the duties and activities of St Stephen in Brannel Parish Council and to all employees permanent, temporary or voluntary.
Lone working includes (1)
- Those working at their main place of work where –
- Only one person is working on the premises.
- People work separately from each other in different locations.
- People working outside normal office hours.
Those working away from their fixed base where (2)
- One worker is visiting another agency’s premises or meeting venue.
- One worker is making a home visit to an individual
- One worker is working from their own home.
Aims of the Policy.
The aim of this policy is to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that staff who work alone are not exposed to Health & Safety risks and to outline the steps which reduce and improve personal safety to staff who work alone-.
- To increase staff awareness of safety issues relating to lone working.
- Ensure that appropriate support and training is available to all staff that equips them to recognise risk and provides practical advice on safety when working alone.
- Encourage full reporting and recording of all adverse incidents relating to lone working.
- Reduce the number of incidents and injuries to staff related to lone working.
A risk assessment will be undertaken by the line manager who will liaise with employees to ensure the agreed working practices are recorded and communicated to all persons who may be required to work alone or have a role in ensuring their lone workers safety.
The HSE advises that risks that particularly affect lone workers include:
- violence in the workplace
- stress and mental health or wellbeing
- a person’s medical suitability to work alone
- the workplace itself, for example if it’s in a rural or isolated area.
The following steps must be taken for a lone working risk assessment:
a) Identify the hazard to which the person may be exposed.
b) The hazards are likely to be the same for a particular activity whether lone working or not.
c) The assessment of the risks to which a lone worker may be exposed must take into account normal and foreseeable scenarios.
d) The hazards may be such that the risk cannot be controlled sufficiently and therefor lone working is prohibited.
Examples of high-risk activities where at least one other person will need to be present include:
- Working in a confined space
- Power tools and machinery
- Working at height
- Chemicals which are corrosive, toxic, explosive, flammable or asphyxiant products or reactions.~
e) Identify all persons who may be required to work alone. Consideration must be given to all individual’s ability to carry out their activities safely on their own. Some individuals may be at greater risk than others (for example, expectant mothers or those who are new to a role). It may be necessary to make reasonable enquiries to ensure that lone workers are medically fit to undertake the work alone.
Personal (Employee) Responsibilities.
Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires employees to take reasonable care for the health and safety of themselves and of other people who may be affected by their acts or omissions at work.
- Follow guidance and procedures designed for safe working;
- Report all incidents that may affect the health and safety of themselves or others and ask for guidance as appropriate from their Line Manager or the Clerk;
- Take part in training deemed necessary to meet the requirements of this policy;
- Report any dangers or potential dangers they identify or any concerns they might have in respect of working alone to their Line Manager or the Clerk.
(An incident can be defined as an unplanned or uncontrolled event or sequence of events that has the potential to cause injury, ill-health or damage).
If an employee has a medical condition which would make them unsuitable for working alone, they have a duty to inform their Line Manager or the Clerk.
The Clerk, who discharges health & safety matters on behalf of the Council, is responsible for –
- Ensuring that there are arrangements for identifying, evaluating and managing risk associated with lone working;
- Ensuring that there are arrangements for monitoring incidents linked to lone working and that the effectiveness of this policy is regularly reviewed;
- Providing resources for putting the policy into practice.
- Ensuring all employees are aware of the policy
- Take all possible steps to ensure that lone workers are at no greater risk than other employees.
- Identify situations where people work alone and decide whether a system can be adopted to avoid workers carrying out tasks on their own.
- Ensuring that risk assessments are carried out and reviewed regularly
- Putting procedures and safe systems of work into practice which are designed to eliminate or reduce the risks associated with working alone.
- Ensuring that employees identified as being at risk are given appropriate information, instruction and training, including training at induction, updating and refreshing this training as necessary
- Managing the effectiveness of preventative measures through an effective system of reporting, investigating and recording incidents.
- Ensuring that appropriate support is given to employees involved in any incident
- Provide personal safety equipment, where this is felt to be desirable, and access to First Aid equipment.
- Ensure communication systems are in place (e.g., mobile phones) to enable contact to be made with employees who have failed to make contact or return at the expected time.
Good Practice for Lone Workers.
- During working hours, all staff leaving the workplace must advise their Line Manager or Clerk of where they are going and their estimated time of arrival back.
- If working after normal hours, all staff should advise the Clerk of the estimated time of finish and contact the Clerk once they have left the workplace.
- An “out of normal working hours” phone number for the Clerk will be issued to any member of staff working alone during such a period.
- If, in the course of working away from the normal workplace, plans change significantly this should be communicated back to the Line Manager or Clerk.
- Telephone contact between a lone worker and the Line Manager or Clerk is also advisable.
- Staff should avoid being left on their own with a non-employee in the workplace, and avoid leaving a colleague in this situation
- Lone workers should have access to first aid kits suitable for treating minor injuries.
- Lone workers should be provided with personal safety equipment where this is necessary.
- Office based staff must keep the office door locked and confirm identity before allowing visitors access.
- Council has agreed that the office based staff will be available to the public and councillors during the office opening hours (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 12.30pm) on a ‘drop in basis’ to carry out Council business. During this period a lone worker shall have access to the means of summoning emergency assistance by phone.
Violence at Work
There are five main pieces of Health & Safety legislation which are relevant to violence at work. These are; –
- The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSW Act);
- The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999;
- The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR);
- Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977 (s); and
- The Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996 9b).
Lone working does not always mean a higher risk of violence, but it does make workers more vulnerable. The lack of nearby support makes it harder for them to prevent an incident.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines violence as ‘any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work’ – this includes verbal threats.
Some of the key workplace violence risks include:
- late evening or early morning work, when fewer workers are around
- lone workers, such as security staff, who have authority over customers and are enforcing rules
- people affected by alcohol or drugs
- carrying money or valuable equipment
Incident Reporting –
An incident is defined as “an unplanned or uncontrolled event or sequence of events that has the potential to cause injury, ill health or damage”. In order to maintain an appropriate record of incidents involving lone workers it is essential that all incidents be reported to the Clerk who will prioritise each incident and identify any immediate action.
Staff should ensure that all incidents where they feel threatened or “unsafe” (even if this was not a tangible event/experience) are reported. This includes incidents of verbal abuse.
Contacting/Involving the Police –
The Council is committed to protecting its staff from violence and assault and will support criminal proceedings against those who carry out assault. All staff are encouraged to report violent incidents to the Police and will be supported by the Council throughout the process. Except in the cases of emergency, staff should inform the Clerk of any incident immediately. The Clerk will thereafter take responsibility for contacting the police to report the details of the incident.
Support for Staff –
Employees working for the Council should know that their safety comes first. Staff should be aware of how to deal with situations where they feel they are at risk or unsafe. Staff should also be able to recognise how their own actions could influence or even trigger an aggressive response. The Clerk will ensure that all lone workers’ training needs are assessed and that they receive appropriate training.
Immediate Support following a Violent Incident –
In the event of a violent incident involving a lone worker, the Clerk will immediately ensure that the employee receives any necessary medical treatment and/or advice.
Where the items above relate directly to the Clerk as a staff member the appropriate controls will be exercised by the Assistant Clerk or, in an emergency, the Chairman of the Human Resources committee.
Further advice can be found at https://www.hse.gov.uk/lone-working/employer/index.htm#article
 Adopted by Full Council at the meeting held on Wednesday 2nd August 2023 under minute number FPC205/23. Due for review in August 2026.