Lone working can be dangerous and employers need to take precautions to protect their workers, with 66% of isolated workers reporting that they had experienced violence and aggression from the public.
The shocking figure came at UNISON’s biennial health and safety seminar earlier this week, when Saskia Garnier of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust delivered a keynote speech.
Ms Garnier explained that, nearly 33 years after the disappearance (and presumed murder) of estate agent Ms Lamplugh, who was last known to have gone to show a prospective client a property, the circumstances that led to her disappearance are still relevant today.
More people work alone than ever, but an over-dependence on technology can risk giving people a false sense of security. For instance, when technology doesn’t work as expected, it can leave workers more isolated.
UNISON head of health and safety Robert Baughan said that Ms Garnier had “reminded us why lone working is so dangerous, why it is important employers take some basic precautions to protect their workers and why we need more safety reps to make sure these things happen.”
Those precautions include:
- reducing the amount of time that workers spend working alone;
- identifying the times when lone workers are most at risk so they get the support and help they require;
- ensuring lone workers can summon help if needed. This includes providing contact names and telephone numbers, together with the means to raise the alarm where necessary;
- workers leaving details of where they will be working, their expected arrival and departure times, and when they can be expected either back at their employer’s office or at home.