Employers, must manage any health and safety risks before people can work alone. Employers must applly this to anyone contracted to work for them, including self-employed people. The HSE has updated its current guidelines in light of a large part of the UK workforce operating from home where possible, during the Covid-19 Pandemic as part of the Emergency Legislation. This is a new concept for many employers and employees, hence the guideline review and updating to reflect this major step change to UK work practices, which may be in force well in to 2021. There are of course a large number of employees who lone work as the norm prior to the Pandemic outbreak.
Lone workers are those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision, for example:
- delivery drivers, health workers or engineers
- as security staff, cleaners
- in warehouses or petrol stations
- at home
The above reflects the current key and essential workers workforce, but now also includes home workers in far greater numbers than ever before.
There will always be greater risks for lone workers without direct supervision or anyone to help them if things go wrong, this includes providing first aid. The HSE has a range of tools to help employers and employees who work alone and unsupervised.