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Assessing Risk for Lone Workers

Posted by: Tara Singh

Date: 03-Dec-2014 09:00:00

A collage that shows various lone worker environments to highlight that risk assessments are vital.How do you keep your staff safe?

And how can you demonstrate that you are meeting your ‘duty of care’?

Crystal Ball’s MobileLWP plays a vital role for many of our customers – from security guards to LGV drivers and Field Service Engineers to Domiciliary Healthcare workers.  MobileLWP helps employers meet their duty of care and helps keep staff safe.  But where does it fit within your responsibilities as an employer?

Lone Working Legalities

Lone working in general is not prohibited by law, but it is important that every employer understands and mitigates the additional risks faced by lone workers.  Additionally, there are some specific situations where lone working may fall under further legislative requirements or guidance.  For example, supervision in deep sea diving operations or with regards to vehicles carrying explosives, electrical work or work in confined spaces.

Section 19 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 requires employers to carry out a risk assessment.  The employer has a duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all employees.

Lone workers should face no more risk than other workers -  CLICK TO TWEET

Lone Worker Risk Assessment

The risk assessment must look at the increased or additional risks lone workers face.  For example, some work that involves driving can pose increased risk for lone workers.  Lone workers who need to drive in remote areas face increased risk in the case of a breakdown situation.  Drivers who are carrying valuable cargo might face increased risk from violence or theft.

HSE Guidance stresses staff should be involved in the lone worker risk assessment process - CLICK TO TWEET

The potential for increased or additional risk needs to be considered for every aspect of the employees’ jobs, including (but not limited to):

  • Fire
  • Inadequate provision of hygiene, rest or welfare facilities
  • Violence or abuse
  • Theft or intruders
  • Sudden illness or other emergencies
  • The effects of social isolation
  • Risks related to driving, and
  • The lack of supervision or training.

If the risk assessment shows that it’s not possible for the work to be done safely by a lone worker, then other arrangements must be put in place. 

Dynamic Risk Assessments for Lone Workers

In lone working situations, some employers might want to consider using ‘dynamic risk assessments’. 

Dynamic risk assessments should not be a substitute for a comprehensive risk assessment - CLICK TO TWEET

Dynamic risk assessments should not be used as an excuse to transfer responsibility to a lone worker - CLICK TO TWEET

However, they can help to deal with risks that could not have been foreseen and enables the lone worker to take operational decisions about the level of risk in any given current situation.

Where dynamic risk assessments are used, the lone worker must receive proper training in how to make dynamic risk assessments and be supported in making and acting on these decisions.


Understand the legislation surrounding lone workers in our free guide to protecting your remote workforce.

Find out more about Crystal Ball’s MobileLWP smartphone application.


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Tara Singh

Written by Tara Singh

Tara is part of the Digital Marketing Team at Crystal Ball. She frequently blogs about the latest news and tips for running a productive and efficient mobile workforce.

Topics in this section lone working risk assessment