5. Training, supervision and monitoring
It's harder for lone workers to get help, so they may need extra training. They should understand any risks in their work and how to control them.
Training is particularly important:
- where there is limited supervision to control, guide and help in uncertain situations
- in enabling people to cope with unexpected situations, such as those involving violence
You should set limits on what can be done while working alone. Make sure workers are:
- competent to deal with the requirements of the job
- trained in using any technical solutions
- able to recognise when they should get advice
Base your levels of supervision on your risk assessment – the higher the risk, the more supervision they will need. This will also depend on their ability to identify and handle health and safety issues.
The amount of supervision depends on:
- the risks involved
- their ability to identify and handle health and safety issues
It's a good idea for a new worker to be supervised at first if they're:
- being trained
- doing a job with specific risks
- dealing with new situations
Monitoring and keeping in touch
You must monitor your lone workers and keep in touch with them. Make sure they understand any monitoring system and procedures you use. These may include:
- when supervisors should visit and observe lone workers
- knowing where lone workers are, with pre-agreed intervals of regular contact, using phones, radios, email etc
- other devices for raising the alarm, operated manually or automatically
- a reliable system to ensure a lone worker has returned to their base once they have completed their task
Regularly test these systems and all emergency procedures to ensure lone workers can be contacted if a problem or emergency is identified.
When workers' first language is not English
Lone workers from outside the UK may come across unfamiliar risks, in a workplace culture very different from that in their own country.
You must ensure they have received and understood the information, instruction and training they need to work safely.
Find out more on migrant workers.