Lone Worker Policy - June 2020

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Introduction

Lone working includes any activity undertaken in isolation from other workers. Home working, work travel and working at remote locations such as home visits or working alone in a building could all constitute lone working.  We define ‘Lone working’ as a situation where “work undertaken by the individual lone worker may be riskier, either because of the work itself or due to the lack of on-hand support should something go wrong”

There are some circumstances in which staff and/or volunteers may find themselves in situations where they are ‘lone working’

Lone workers need to be experienced and fully understand the risks and precautions involved with lone working. This can be achieved by ensuring those volunteering understand the requirements set out in this policy and confirm their understanding in writing with appointed officials from the PCC for example Parish Priest, Church Wardens or Verger. Lone Workers must also be adequately insured.

Lone working can occur during normal working hours at an isolated location within the normal workplace or when working outside the normal working hours.

Lone workers include:

Workers or volunteers in fixed establishments where: only one member of staff and/or volunteer is working on the premises at that time; staff and/or volunteers working in a separate areas away from others; staff and/or volunteers are working outside normal working hours, mobile workers working away from their base, or example working in: clients home, public venues, working from home, mobile units.

What legislation covers ‘lone workers’?

Employees taking part in lone working are covered by 2 pieces of legislation: the general duties of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the specific duties of the Management of Health Safety at Work Regulations. These requirements are applicable to all work situations, particularly staff that are working alone or outside normal working hours. The responsibilities detailed in the legislation are the employers alone and cannot be transferred to the lone worker (HSE 1998). The situation with volunteers and their status as ‘employees’ under law remains uncertain, as such any organisation using volunteers should consider them as employees in regards to all health and safety matters, including lone working guidelines, in order to protect the safety of volunteers and to protect the organisation from prosecution. The PCC must decide if the circumstances of the work could be adapted to avoid incidents of lone working. If this is not possible then a thorough risk assessment of lone working should be carried out.

Training and Supervision

Lone workers need to be experienced and fully understand the risks and precautions involved with lone working, this can be achieved through effective briefing and setting clear expectations that personal safety and safeguarding must take priority.  It should be noted that there is no expectation that those working on behalf of Ss Peter and Paul Leybourne will take unnecessary risks when conducting the business of the church. When the risks of a job have been ascertained it is important to ensure that the employee or volunteer has thoroughly reviewed how to mitigate these risks and discussed these with Church Wardens or appointed persons from the PCC. Emergency procedures should be established, and training or briefing given with frequent reminders issued. Lone workers should have access to a first aid kit and mobile lone workers should carry them with them. If the risk assessment indicates that the lone worker should be trained in first aid, then it is important that they receive this training. Sufficient training can help workers avoid panic in emergency situations.

When a volunteer or staff member is new to the job or to the situation in which they will be lone working then the risk posed to them is considerably higher. In these circumstances it is advisable to have a level of supervision before volunteers can work entirely on their own.

Supervision is not just needed at the beginning of the volunteers’ lone working but should be periodic throughout the course of the work. Procedures should be put in place to ensure that the lone worker remains safe. These include: Random visits to the lone worker; keeping regular telephone or radio contact with the lone worker ; installing automatic warning devices that operate if specific signals are not received periodically from the lone worker; checks that the lone worker has returned to their desk or home after the completion of the task (HSE, 1998)

Mitigations

  • Communicate with another when lone working is required
    • Ensure mobile contact information is shared
    • Ensure anticipated duration of lone working is shared
    • Ensure location of lone working is shared
  • Do not undertaken work at height or work involving materials, chemicals, electricity or water without the proper qualification and supervision.
  • When working alone within Leybourne Church ensure doors are locked unlocked and locked behind you to ensure nobody accesses the building behind you.
  • When lone working in the community ensure diary entries are made providing details of the location, expected duration and purpose of the visit. Record names of those you are visiting. Diaries should be shared confidentially with a Church Warden. In an emergency WhatsApp message to a warden or PCC member outlining the purpose and location of visit should be sent and acknowledged.

Insurance

As with any employee, lone workers should be covered by an organisation’s liability insurance. It is stressed that volunteers must be covered by the insurance as volunteers can, in some circumstances be considered ‘workers. Therefor to protect people for whom the organisation has duty of care and avoid prosecution, everyone should be covered.

References

Health and Safety Executive (1998) Working alone in safety: Controlling the risks of solitary at work.

Published: 22 March 2021