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Lone Worker Policy

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Lone Worker Policy, Lone Worker Safety, Lone Worker App, Lone Worker, Policy, Procedure, Lone Worker Procedure, Lone Worker Safety Policy, WorkSafe Guardian, WSG App

What is a Lone Worker Policy?

To protect lone workers from applicable risks and hazards, it is crucial to have dedicated policies and procedures in place. A lone worker policy is a formal, written document that outlines the potential risks faced by lone workers, as well as the respective roles and responsibilities of the employer and the employee in ensuring their safety while working alone. 

Creating and implementing a lone worker safety policy provides guidance to both employers and employees, which creates an ongoing agreement of what is acceptable and expected from one another.

How to Check in on Lone Workers or Remote Workers - How to ask are you okay

Do I need a Lone Worker Policy? Why is having a policy important?

In Australia, all employers are required to comply with Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation, known as the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth). This legislation provides guidance to employers about acceptable Work Health and Safety practices in Australia. In essence, employers have a legal responsibility to ensure their employees’ health, safety and welfare, to an extent that is practical. This includes providing safe systems, work environments and suitable welfare arrangements. To comply with this legislation and fulfill their duty of care, employers with lone workers should implement a lone worker safety policy and conduct a risk assessment as to ensure that all risks and hazards are identified and adequately managed.

Having a robust policy is important for protecting the safety and health of your organisation’s lone workers. This official document provides practical guidelines and works in empowering lone workers to take responsibility for their own safety by ensuring everyone is prepared and understands what to do in case of an emergency.

Moreover, having a comprehensive lone worker policy in place may be a legal requirement for your organisation, particularly for situations such as working at night or in remote locations.

What should be included in the policy?

To create an effective lone worker policy document, it is crucial to tailor the policy to your organisation’s specific needs, comply with legal requirements, and mitigate lone worker risks. While each policy should be customised, there are some critical components that should be included, regardless of industry.

Policy Statement

Firstly, it is essential to include a policy purpose statement that outlines why the organisation has created the policy, how it will keep lone workers safe, and how it aligns with the organisation’s values and goals. This statement can help promote employee engagement and commitment, thereby creating a culture of safety.

Risks, Hazards & Procedures

Additionally, the policy should clearly identify the specific risks associated with lone worker roles and responsibilities. Without this, the policy cannot be successful in keeping lone workers safe.

It is also important to define processes, procedures, roles, and responsibilities in detail, such as what lone workers must do to stay safe, how to help in an emergency, and who must respond. The policy should not just be a document that is distributed and filed away but rather a manual that requires participation and commitment from everyone.

The policy should also specify reporting procedures for hazards, incidents, or near-misses. This information can help managers and lone workers learn from any incidents and continually improve the policy and its associated procedures.

Health and Safety Resources

Lastly, the policy should include additional resources and contact information, making it easy for lone workers to ask questions or share concerns about lone worker safety. Emergency contact details should be easy to find, and the policy should provide more resources and information for further training.

WHS, WHS Strategy, WHS culture, Health and Safety

Involving your Lone Workers in policy development

To ensure the acceptance of your new policy, it is advisable to involve your lone workers in all stages of the process. You can request their assistance in identifying potential risks or hazards and seeking their input on ways to enhance lone worker safety. 

After the development of the policy, you may want to conduct a meeting or a health and safety seminar with employees where you can discuss the reasons behind the policy’s creation and its implementation. It is important to emphasise a clear safety message and the benefits of the policy to your lone workers.

Implementing and maintaining your policy

Over time, the roles of lone workers, workplaces, and conditions, as well as government regulations and industry practices may undergo changes. Therefore, it is necessary to regularly review, update, and enhance your organisation’s lone worker safety policy. For jobs with varying degrees of risk, it may be advisable to conduct annual or bi-annual reviews and updates to ensure that changing conditions are being accounted for.

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