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Employers need to investigate the potential hazards faced by lone workers and assess the risks involved both to the lone worker and to any person who may be affected by their work. Employers should ensure that measures are in place to control or avoid such risks.

Risk assessment is the key to safe working. Employers must undertake a risk assessment of all activities where lone working cannot be eliminated and suitable control measures should be implemented to reduce levels of risk as low as reasonably practicable.  Assessments will also help to establish the right level of supervision that needs to be maintained for the lone worker.

A risk assessment for lone working is required whether someone is a lone worker every day or just occasionally.

So what is a risk assessment?

This is simply a careful examination of what, in the workplace could cause harm to people, so that employers can assess whether they have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm.   Workers, which include lone workers and others have a right to be protected from harm caused by a failure to take reasonable control measures.

An employer is legally required to assess the risks in the workplace so that a plan is put in place to control the risks identified.

There are 5 steps to carrying out a risk assessment which is as follows:

Number 1 to identify the hazards that the workplace could subject a worker too.

The law requires you to do everything reasonably practicable to protect people from harm.
A good way to do this is for an employer, to compare what they are doing, with good practice, and see if there is anything more that should be done to bring their practices up to standard.

Hazards can include:

Accidents, slips trips and falls electrocution or working with dangerous substances also need to be considered, where the consequences are worse if there is no immediate assistance.
Lone workers can be injured by animals if they in an occupation like postmen or people who visit people's homes.

Step 2 decide who in the workplace might be hurt and how; new and young workers or expectant mothers and people with disabilities may be more at risk than others.

Step 3 Evaluate the workplace risks and decide on what precautions and actions need to be taken;

Step 4 officially record all of the risk assessment findings and enforce a plan for the implementation of the actions and or precautions. There is no point in recording risks and having actions if nothing gets implemented.

Step 5, the risk assessment must have a formal review date and it must be updated as necessary.

As a minimum, a risk assessment should be reviewed on an annual basis, but always when there has been a change significant change in working practice.

The key to a good risk assessment is that it should not be overcomplicated. The established risks should be well known and the actions and or precautions should be easily implemented.  It is not necessary to employ a health and safety advisor if the employer is well aware of what is involved.