All workplaces present their own risks to their employees and many workplaces have measures in place to mitigate these risks. Being a lone worker brings about its own challenges. Depending on how they are handled, they could lead to serious injury or worse. Below are just some examples of risks lone workers face daily; some may be obvious and some may surprise you.
We often view nurses as the everyday heroes of society, caring individuals and always there to help. Many nurses are out and about in our communities completing home visits for the most vulnerable. These nurses are often alone on their visits which can put them at risk from aggressive verbal and physical behaviour from both patients and relatives that are not happy with the care provided. They can also be faced with threatening behaviour from those patients that do not want to take their medication, making their jobs extremely challenging and stressful.
Many workers in the agriculture sector often work alone and in remote areas where help may not always be easy to come by. They often work with heavy machinery, vehicles and live animals. So, it may not come as much of a surprise that agriculture workers have one of the highest rates of fatal injury. As reported by HSE, most fatalities between 2017-2018 within the agriculture industry happened to those working with or near cattle.
The construction industry is a notoriously high-risk working environment, hence why many safety precautions have already been put in place to try and minimise risk to workers. But despite these measures, accidents do still occur and they can have devastating consequences. HSE found that between 2012 -2017, falling from a height was responsible for 49% of fatalities, followed by 10% of fatalities being caused by a moving vehicle or by being trapped by a heavy object.
These individuals are often working by themselves to deliver goods across the country to people’s homes. Whether they be delivering domestic goods or food, these delivery drivers can be at risk of accident or attacks from the public. In 2017 there were threats from takeaway drivers that they would stop working in certain areas for safety reasons due to the rise of acid attacks targeting drivers in London.
Retail is one of the biggest industries in the UK employing around 3 million people. However, at times staff can be stretched and so there may be shifts where staff members end up working alone. Shop workers can often be victim to slips, trips and falls if the premises are not properly maintained. In more serious instances, they can often be subjected to violent behaviour from agitated customers such as spitting, pushing, verbal abuse and sometimes even having a weapon pulled on them. Workers may often be faced with such behaviours when completing tasks alone, such as deliveries and locking up the shop for the night. Lone working in retail also increases the chances of theft occurring as a lone shop worker has less visibility and no immediate back-up making them an easier target for theft of age restricted goods and other items.
For all lone workers within these industries, having a personal safety device would bring peace of mind knowing that in their most challenging times at work, help is only a button push away.