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Five facts you should know about lone working

4 min read

Five facts you should know about lone working

With the number of lone workers on the rise, here are five facts every employer should know about lone working.

Written by Helen Down, StaySafe

In today’s fast-paced work environment, the concept of lone working has gained significant prominence. Lone working refers to employees performing their tasks and duties in isolation without direct supervision or immediate colleagues. While this approach grants flexibility and autonomy to employees, it also presents unique challenges and risks that employers must address responsibly.

Lone working has become prevalent across various industries, from healthcare and social services to construction and retail. Employees engaged in remote work, home-based jobs, or fieldwork often find themselves in lone working situations. Understanding the dynamics and implications of lone working is crucial for employers to ensure the well-being and productivity of their staff.

Legal and ethical obligations

As an employer, it is essential to recognise the legal and ethical obligations towards lone workers. Neglecting these responsibilities can result in severe consequences, both legally and for the well-being of your employees.

Duty of care

Employers have a duty of care to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of their lone workers. This obligation requires implementing preventive measures and providing adequate training to mitigate potential risks.

Compliance with regulations

Adhering to relevant health and safety regulations and industry-specific standards is imperative. Compliance ensures that your lone working arrangements meet legal requirements and industry best practices.

1. The number of lone workers is growing worldwide 

In the United States, Canada, and Europe, there are approximately 53 million individuals who work alone, with around 8 million of them estimated to be in the UK. However, due to the pandemic’s impact, the number of lone workers is now expected to be considerably higher. The rise in remote and lone working has been observed worldwide, as reported by leading technology researchers IDC. Businesses are actively expanding their mobile-enabled workforce, a trend that is expected to continue throughout 2022 and beyond. This shift towards remote and lone work has brought about new challenges for ensuring the safety and well-being of employees, making the adoption of connected safety solutions more crucial than ever.

2. Your lone workers probably aren’t telling you if they’ve felt unsafe  

According to the British Crime Survey, there are about 150 instances every day where lone workers experience physical or verbal attacks. Unfortunately, this figure is likely to be lower than the actual number due to under-reporting. The most recent edition of the Lone Worker Landscape Report revealed that only around one-third (36%) of lone workers discuss feeling unsafe at work with their employer. Surprisingly, the majority of companies are unaware of this, with nearly all (92%) believing that their lone workers regularly communicate with them about any incidents or concerns they may have. This discrepancy between perception and reality highlights the need for improved communication and support mechanisms for lone workers to ensure their safety and well-being.

Key factors contributing to lone worker attackers

Several factors make lone workers more vulnerable to attacks. Understanding these factors is crucial in devising effective preventive measures.

Isolation and vulnerability

Working alone can create a sense of isolation, leaving lone workers vulnerable to exploitation and attacks. 

High-risk environments

Lone workers often operate in high-risk environments, such as remote locations, late-night shifts, or areas with a history of crime. 

Lack of immediate support

The absence of immediate assistance or backup during emergencies can escalate the impact of an attack on lone workers.

3. Most companies have experienced a lone worker incident in the last three years

Incidents involving lone workers are common across all industries, with 68% of companies having experienced an incident involving a lone worker in the past three years. A fifth of these incidents were described as severe or very severe. Worryingly, nearly a quarter of lone workers also report feeling unsafe at least once a year.

4. Your safety communications are not as effective as you think

The good news is that over 95% of companies have policies and procedures in place to protect their lone workers. The bad news: not all your employees know about them. Research indicates that as many as 1 in 5 lone workers are not aware of their employer’s lone worker policy. A recent study has also shown that managers often overestimate the effectiveness of their safety communications and training, which can leave some lone working employees at risk.

5. The use of lone worker safety solutions is on the increase

When it comes to safeguarding lone workers, many businesses are moving away from traditional methods such as manual check-in calls and basic panic buttons. Instead, they are adopting advanced safety solutions that leverage connectivity. According to a research report by Berg Insight, it is projected that the number of lone workers in Europe and North America using connected safety solutions will grow significantly, reaching approximately 1.8 million by the year 2025.

Connected safety solutions, like StaySafe, make use of the latest mobile and GPS technology to offer a more efficient and dependable way to ensure the safety of lone workers. These solutions provide real-time tracking and communication, enabling employers to monitor the well-being and location of their lone workers more effectively. By adopting these innovative safety measures, businesses can enhance their lone workers’ protection and respond promptly to any potential incidents or emergencies that may arise.

Looking for a better way to protect your lone workers? 

The StaySafe lone worker app and cloud-based monitoring hub is used by hundreds of clients and tens of thousands of users worldwide.

Find out more about StaySafe

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Our comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about lone working.
From identifying the lone workers in your organisation, to the risks they face in different environments, our lone worker guide will ensure you know how to keep your staff protected and meet your legal duty of care.
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Helen Down

“Helen has worked within the lone worker industry for nearly a decade. During that time she has written extensively about health and safety, risk, legislation, and lone working – including the Lone Worker Landscape Report.

Helen’s background is in marketing for start-ups and SMEs, where she has enjoyed working as part of the leadership team to grow the business. Outside of work, Helen is a mum of two and loves to drink wine in peace.”

Looking for more information on protecting your lone workers?

We have a range of expert resources and topical blogs to help keep your lone working staff safe.

Guide to lone working

A comprehensive lone worker guide for employers, managers and the self employed.

Guide to lone worker risk assessments

An extensive guide to risk assessments for employers or managers of lone workers.

StaySafe buyers guide

An informative guide outlining everything you need to know when purchasing a lone working solution.

Find out more about StaySafe solutions

Lone Worker App

Our intuitive app allows employees to check in safely following a lone working session and raise an alert in an emergency.

Cloud Based Monitoring Hub
Our hub uses GPS to accurately locate your lone workers and provides you with real-time updates on their movements.
Wearable Technology
Pairing the app with V.BTTN is a great solution for anyone working at height, with gloves or machinery, where pushing a button may be a more convenient way of using the StaySafe app.
Satellite Tracking Devices
Our satellite tracking devices are designed for those regularly travelling to remote areas where you can’t even get a mobile signal.
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