Lone Worker Risk Assessment: A Guide
A lone worker risk assessment is conducted to identify hazards in the workplace and minimise the potential for harm, if not remove the hazard completely. This is done by implementing control measures or adapting work processes. By implementing a lone worker risk assessment at your operation, you help ensure the safety of lone workers and improve your level of responsibility.
Lone Worker Risk Assessment Law
In NSW, the main hazards that increase the risk of harm befalling lone or remote workers include:
- Exposure to violence.
- Psychological injuries.
- Poor access to emergency assistance.
It is mandated by law that employers manage the risks associated with remote or isolated work. Employers must manage risks and provide a system of work that ensures effective communication with the worker. Consideration should be given to: the length of time spent working alone, the time of day spent working alone, communication plans with workers, the location of the work, the nature of the work including the skills required to perform it.
When hazards have been identified, adjustments (control measures) to work processes must be put in place. These may include:
- Adjusting work patterns or schedules to ensure staff are not working by themselves.
- Reducing the amount of time workers spend working alone.
- Ensure proper training is given to lone workers.
- Issuing lone worker devices to staff.
It’s recommended by the NSW Government that employers monitor remote workers regularly. Also, a check-in process should be implemented. Furthermore, an emergency response plan must be provided for instances when workers fail to report in at an agreed time. Buddy systems, workplace layout and design, movement records, training, first aid and communication systems must all be developed when creating a lone worker risk assessment.
Identifying Lone Worker Hazards
The first part of any lone worker risk assessment involves identifying hazards and then assessing the likelihood of them occurring. Known hazards must be documented and evaluated as low, medium or high risk. The following categories apply:
Are there hazards present which are unique to the worker being assessed? Personal hazards may include a disability or medical condition, age, sex and level of experience.
Some hazards may be present that are specific to the lone worker’s environment. Hazards must be identified on a location-based level for every location where lone workers operate. Hazards may include bodies of water, animals, electrical equipment, etc.
Process hazards exist in many different businesses including warehousing, manufacturing and service industries. Process hazards are specific to work processes and may include: moving machinery, risk of explosions or burns.
List equipment that a lone worker will use and what the associated risks are. This will largely vary according to the job. Common hazards include electrical equipment, harmful chemical substances or medicines. Even a car may be considered as hazardous equipment which must be assessed.
Are there any activities carried out which would be considered out of the norm for most employees? For example, working unusual hours or in unusual places. Also, consider the employee’s route to work or hazards leaving premises.
Sources of potential violence must be identified and evaluated in terms of the level of risk they pose to lone workers. You must put in place control measures to eliminate hazards or reduce their risk factor as much as possible.
Contact TWIG Australia
If your lone worker safety plan includes equipping employees with lone worker safety devices, contact TWIG Australia today to discuss our product offering. We have several lone worker safety devices for sale and can help your business remain compliant with State Government regulation and ensure the safety of your employees as they operate alone at work.
TWIG Australia is open for business Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 4:00pm. Call our friendly sales team on (02) 9412 2100 to place an order for any of the products listed on our site or to ask any questions about creating a lone worker safety plan. We look forward to receiving your call.