Half of businesses not doing enough to protect lone workers


Study of 2,000 adults by communications provider finds 78 per cent are required to work alone but a quarter of those claim their employer has never checked the welfare of those staff 

Nearly half (48 per cent) of businesses in the channel have insufficient measures in place to protect their staff when working alone, despite them having a legal obligation to protect employees.

This is according to research from Daisy Group, which used One Poll to survey 2,000 adults (1,250 males and 750 females) about lone worker practices at their company.

It revealed over three quarters (78 per cent) were required to work alone as part of their job but a quarter of those surveyed said their employer never checked the welfare of staff when working alone.

Of those required to work either alone or off-site, nearly two thirds (63 per cent) said monitoring programmes in the company they worked for were haphazard. Only one in eight said they were aware they had responsibilities to inform others of their whereabouts and to ‘check in’ with colleagues when working alone.

It added that if incapacitated due to an accident whilst working alone, one in seven lone workers said they would expect it to take up to seven hours for their colleagues to notice they were missing.

The Office of National Statistics estimates there are around six million lone workers in the UK, but Daisy said the research suggests the number could be much higher when taking into account occasional lone working, such as attending client meetings, doing site visits or making deliveries.

Daisy Group head of HR Marie Wheatley said: “Most businesses are very proactive about looking after their staff whilst they are on site, but it seems that there’s a real case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ when it comes to their lone workers.

“Whether staff are spending the majority of their time unsupervised or just occasionally going to client meetings, businesses need to acknowledge their responsibilities to educate their lone workers about procedures and to take adequate steps to make sure that, in the event of a problem, staff have an adequate support network.

“Lone worker protection used to be very expensive, but there are now a variety of options available to suit businesses’ needs and budget, whether it’s lone worker devices or apps, GPS tracking for staff smartphones, or simply getting a special phone tariff for inter-company calls to operate a buddy system.
“Whilst it is good to see that some businesses make suitable provisions to protect lone workers, it is disappointing that there are so few of them. In this day and age, and with all the technology at their disposal, there really is no excuse for businesses to leave lone worker safety to chance.”