We are thrilled that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will be supporting the Lone Worker Safety Expo Conference again this year and that Barbara Hockey, HSE’s Policy Lead for Vulnerable Workers, will be delivering our opening address.

Last year Barbara’s excellent presentation outlined the regulator’s approach to Lone Working, particularly looking at how health and wellbeing can be affected. We spoke to Barbara, about her role and what advice the HSE gives to employers of lone workers.

Lone working happens in a wide range of workplaces. There are no specific regulations for lone workers except for a few very specialised workplaces such as diving, so our advice is to tailor the risk assessment based on actual work that is being done, taking into account that additional factors of being alone.” she says. “It’s important that the emphasis is on the employer to fully understand the work activity and what impact working alone can have not just physical safety but also the health and wellbeing of employees.

Once the work activity has been fully assessed and the risks identified, the employer must control those risks, usually through a Lone Worker safe system of work. Barbara says

When considering implementing Lone Worker systems, many employers rely on a technical solution but regular testing of how effective the system is and how employees comply is the way to be satisfied if it is working well.”

Barbara added “Lone Workers can work in stressful environments or find working on their own stressful. With over 11 million days lost at work a year because of stress at work, it is an area many employers are focussed on, not least because they have a legal duty to protect employees from stress at work by doing a risk assessment and acting on it

HSE provides guidance on managing work related stress and recently launched a Go Home Healthy campaign, which gives practical advice on how to help address the three main work-related health conditions – stress, musculoskeletal diseases and occupational lung diseases.

Barbara says “The Go Home Healthy Campaign really highlights the importance of employees health and wellbeing and is a great source of information for both employers and employees with practical advice and case studies.

The Lone Worker Safety Expo Conference will focus on the three key areas of risk for lone workers: Health and Safety, Personal Safety and Security, and Mental Health and Wellbeing. Tickets for the event, held on the 15th October, will be released on the 4th February and delegate numbers will be limited so book your place early.

More information about the HSE’s Go Home Healthy Campaign can be found here.