If you manage staff who carry out any form of loan working, you must complete a risk assessment. Lone workers face challenges, hazards and risks which are unique to their situation. To write a loan working risk assessment you must identify and assess risks associated with a job role carried out by a loan worker. The sole purpose of the assessment is to identify how you can remove and reduce health and safety risks for your lone workers.
Are lone working risk assessments a legal requirement?
There are 5 key pieces of legislation which apply to lone working:
- Health and Safety at Work Act
- Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations
- The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations
- The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations
- The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations
This legislation clearly places responsibility on employers for health, safety and welfare of employees – including lone workers. Employers must make sure employees have a safe working environment, identify any special health and safety risks, and reduce or remove them as far as reasonably practicable.
What should lone working risk assessments contain?
Primarily, it should identify hazards, ie who might be harmed and how. It should then identify the procedures in place to prevent harm, and clearly outline actions required to further reduce risk.
The risk assessment should also include details of who completed it, when and the date of any next steps and a review.
How can you create a lone worker risk assessment?
It is the responsibility of the organisation to designate an individual to be responsible for health and safety. A risk assessment should always be carried out by someone who is experienced and knowledgeable enough to do so.
HSE lone working risk assessment
HSE stands for Health and Safety Executive. It is a UK government agency responsible for the encouragement, regulation and enforcement of workplace health, safety and welfare, and for research into occupational risks in Great Britain. The HSE offer advice on carrying out risk assessments.
HSE 5 step risk assessment:
1. Identify the hazards
- Talk to your lone workers. Engage them in the risk assessment and a sk them for feedback on any risks they have identified
- Consider past incidents and near misses and identify the causes
- Identify common hazards identified by bodies such as HSE, and consider whether they could impact your workplaces
2. Decide who might be harmed and how
Each hazard can be specific to any given situation. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to risk assessment. Every employee will have different skills and abilities, training levels, experience etc. Organisations also have a legal responsibility to protect members of the public and any other workers who may be affected by the work.
3. Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions
You have identified the risks, now you need to consider how likely it is that harm may occur.
Consider the following;
- The likelihood of the risk occurring
- The harm that might result from the hazard
- Ways to eliminate or minimise the risk
- Costs associated with ways of eliminating the hazard. Is this is proportionate to the risk?
You must now decide if you will remove the risk entirely or aim to reduce the risk. Some practical steps you could take include:
- Hiring equipment which will make work safer, eg scaffolding instead or ladders.
- Considering work patterns and adjusting them e.g. limiting lone working to social hours
- Providing protective equipment and alarms
- Providing lone worker training
4. Record your significant findings
If your organisation employs 5 employees or more, you are required by law to record your significant findings. Your written risk assessment evidence;
- An assessment was carried out
- You identified the hazards
- Reasonable steps have been taken to control the hazards
- The remaining risk is low
- You included your employees or health and safety representatives in the process
5. Review your risk assessment and update if necessary
During a risk assessment review you should consider;
- Have been any significant changes in the workplace?
- Are your policies and procedures effective?
- Have your lone workers have identified any other issues
- Did any accidents or incidents occur?
Engage in Learning provide an engaging and robust eLearning Lone Worker training course. This course will explore all the legal responsibilities, the possible risks associated with lone working and steps you must take to minimise risk.