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Risks To Lone Workers And How To Overcome Them

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The nature of some work means it must be carried out alone. 

The risks and hazards lone workers face can be considerable and it’s therefore imperative that a business that expects its employees to perform their duties without a teammate in tow is capable of identifying and mitigating the risks its workers run.

It might seem like a daunting task to keep lone workers safe, especially when we consider their ever-changing work conditions.

However, although we might never totally eliminate lone-worker risk, with the right protocols, training and technology, we can still do much to reduce it to a manageable level.

Below, we take a look at a few of the main lone-worker risks and examine what can be done to manage and mitigate them.   

The Main Risks

An important first step in managing lone worker risk is to identify the risks and hazards a lone worker can be expected to encounter.

It’s generally thought that there are two main types of lone-worker risk:

  • People risk – that is, the risk of violence from an intruder to a work site or a member of the public.
  • Worksite risk – includes the risks associated with working at heights and in dangerous terrains.

People Risk

Anyone from a school teacher and social worker to a delivery driver and security guard can be exposed to this type of risk.

Training goes a long way to mitigating this type of risk – for example, by learning how to employ conflict resolution techniques, a lone worker can defuse a combustible situation.

At the same time, technology has an important part to play here. 

Personal alarms and communications systems provide a vital lifeline to colleagues and the emergency services should an encounter with a member of the public turn nasty.

Work Site Risk

The main type of risk for many lone workers comes in the shape of environment or worksite risk.

For example, lone workers in the construction or building industries are sometimes expected to work at great heights or in treacherous terrains.

A risk assessment, a requirement under British law, should determine what risks a work site poses and if it’s even safe to carry out the work alone.

If the risk assessment gives the go-ahead it’s important that the provisions for safety measures and equipment outlined in the risk assessment be taken seriously.

Technology has a big part to play in mitigating lone-worker work-site risk. 

This might include a lone worker app, which can be installed on most smart devices and often features an SOS button that can be hit when disaster strikes and also comes fitted with an extra layer of protection in the form of true man-down detection.


The risks lone workers face can be considerable but needn’t be unmanageable.  

By taking into consideration the main types of risks lone workers are likely to face and embracing lone-worker technology, workers can stay safe whatever the situation.

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