What are the risks & hazards of working alone?

Lone workers are ubiquitous. Whether they’re self-employed, contractors, or full time-employees, they take on an increased risk to fulfill difficult roles in most every industry across the globe, including Australia and New Zealand. 

The law current requires companies to carefully consider the health and safety risks posed to workers that work alone. In 2015, for example, New Zealand passed major Health & Safety regulation reform, bringing the country into line with other countries like the UK, where it’s estimated some 8 million lone workers ply their trade.

These laws require due diligence on the part of directors and other offices to ensure they are compliant with all relevant regulations, including carrying out risk assessments, providing lone workers with adequate education and training, and equipping them with the right tools and equipment to carry out their work, safely.

In order to do this, companies require the ability to quickly and easily identify the risks posed to their lone working force, the kind of threats they face, and from here develop a strategy that will keep workers safe from hazards (physical elements that could cause harm) and risks (the likeliness of someone being harmed by one of these hazards). 

Some of these risks include:

5 Most Common Risks Faced By Lone Workers

  1. Verbal and physical abuse from members of the public including theft or intruders.
  2. Accidents or emergencies arising as a result of the work being carried out
  3. Delays in treating or responding to these emergencies which arise due to a lack of immediate access to first aid or assistance.
  4. Inadequate monitoring of rest, personal hygiene and general welfare facilities to ensure the basic health of workers.
  5. Manual handling incidents or sudden illness.

The risks of working in isolated environments without the close or direct supervision of management can result in a decrease in worker morale, an increase in absences, impaired performance, poor customer service or even reduced product quality.

They can also have a much broader impact on your business as a whole if not properly addressed. A employer that fails to properly protect its staff could see a drop in its share price, its brand value, and its reputation in the eyes of a discerning public.