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Lone workers: what are the employers’ responsibilities?

Lone worker

In recent times, the landscape of work has undergone a significant transformation, with remote working becoming the norm for many employees in the UK. As the number of people working from home continues to rise, so does the importance of addressing the unique challenges to employers regarding ‘lone workers.’

The Rise of Remote Working in the UK

According to the latest report by the Institute of Economic Research, the UK stands as the second-highest country globally in terms of remote working days, just behind Canada. On average, employees in the UK work from home 1.5 days per week, with an aspiration to spend 2.3 days working remotely.

Addressing the Challenges Faced by Lone Workers:

It is important with the levels of home and remote working, that employers are proactive in supporting those who are ‘lone workers’.
Lone workers can often be “out of sight, out of mind” and this means their health, safety and welfare may not be as well catered for as those employees who work with others, during normal working hours and at your premises. It is important that adequate arrangements are made to ensure lone workers are safe at all times.

Lone workers aren’t just those who work from home, it can also include anyone working away from base, or who are working along on site (or part of a site).

The Employers’ Responsibility

Although the employer has the main responsibility for protecting the health and safety of its employees, employees also have a duty to take reasonable care of themselves and others affected by their work and to co-operate with managers in meeting legal obligations. Such as by taking reasonable care of their own health and safety and that of others affected by their work, adhering to the organisation’s health and safety procedures or using tools, personal protection and other equipment in accordance with relevant safety instructions and training.

Establishing a Policy

Before recruiting lone workers, it’s a good idea to agree a policy on lone working, setting out organisational responsibilities and arrangements made to minimise the risk of harm. As home workers are also lone workers, make sure that any home working policy you may have is consistent with this, and also bear in mind how any other policies will impact on it, e.g. health and safety, safe working practices, permit to work arrangements, smoking, mobile phones and driving on business.

If you need help managing your lone and or remote workers, we can help you to update or create your policies, Contact Us for support.

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