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HSE to review lone worker guidance

13 January 2020

Lorraine Larman, managing director of safety solutions consultancy examines the impact of the Health and Safety Executive's review of its lone worker guidance.

Hopefully the HSE's guidance review will make a lone worker status clearer, as it seems this is a point of confusion. All employees that work alone at any time, such as managers, day janitors or mobile supports, are lone working. 

How do you identify a lone worker? even if they work in a building of 400 people, if that person is the only person working from one company, that is classed as lone working. 

Just imagine that this employee collapses or has an accident, how do you get to hear of it? Time and attend system can help with logging in and out of a building and goes along way to ensure key holders  safety. 

But how do you manage day workers and home workers? if an employee works from home how do we ensure their safety within working hours? 

The HSE lone workers guidance hasn’t been reviewed since 2012 so it is time to review in light of new innovations. 

HSE head of the vulnerable workers team, Barbara Hockey, gave the keynote address at this year's Lone Worker Safety Conference held on 15 October 2019 in London. During her address Barbara announced a welcome review of the Lone Worker Guidance produced by the HSE.

The last update on the Health and Safety guidance 'working alone' leaflet  (INDG 73) was in 2012 and yet it would be fair to say that the way in which people lone work, where they work and the activities, they carry out have changed considerably since then.

Lone workers make up an increasing and important part of the workforce, within a range of elderly and home working being two areas that are increasing.