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Lone working can throw up certain risks, and as an employer, it is your responsibility to perform a lone worker risk assessment.
Common Lone Working Risks To Be Aware Of
Regardless of the any industry health and safety is important that you work in or the nature of your job, there is always the risk of experiencing an accident at work. However, such a situation is much riskier for lone workers than those working with others.
The problem is that, when you are working alone, it is usually more difficult to get quick help in the event of an accident unlike when working in the company of others. When you are working with others, you have people who can quickly respond to your situation and render the necessary assistance, thus minimizing any lasting damage.
On the other hand, an injured lone worker may have to wait for a long time to get appropriate help. And depending on the situation, this delay can result in serious damage. Remember, some types of injuries require immediate medical attention.
Remote working people from home are also at risk of an accident. Home accidents are a common occurrence. Such a situation is even worse for people who live alone and maintain minimal contact with colleagues. This is because in the event of a serious injury, you may be unable to get help and it may take people a very long time to realize that you are missing and come looking for you.
While accidents are a type of medical emergency, there are other medical situations that can arise without involving an accident. These include health-related issues like allergic reactions, sudden illnesses, choking, and loss of consciousness. When you are working alone, such emergencies can put you in great danger as you might not be able to call for help on your own leading to grave consequences.
Lack of supervision
Another problem associated with working alone is that you don’t have anybody around you to offer assistance and/or guidance when you need it. In case you are new to a job or just don’t know how to do something correctly and safely, you run the risk of getting stuck in a particular task, causing damage to property, or seriously injuring yourself as there is no one to warn you about a particular hazard.
Violence from others
People working in certain roles are more prone to this risk. If you work in law enforcement, do community work, or work a role that involves visiting people in their homes, and are often working alone, you may be exposed to violence from others. If you directly work with people with certain mental issues or people that are quick to anger, you are also prone to violence from others.
The location, workplace conditions, and nature of the job can pose a risk to the worker, aggravated when working alone. For instance, operating dangerous equipment, working from a height, or conducting difficult and physically straining labor.
As an employer, you should take steps to protect lone workers from environmental risks. Even small things like removing stray wires and investing in stable and comfortable furniture can make a big difference.
Perhaps the most common yet most overlooked risk to lone working is loneliness. While some people are more productive when they work by themselves, extended periods of loneliness can have a devastating impact on the mental health of any human being. Social interaction is an intrinsic human need.
Though some workers may prefer roles that they don’t have to constantly interact with others, it is never advisable for any worker to be completely cut off from human contact by working all by their own.
It doesn’t matter whether a worker is working alone at home, or in a client’s home, the lack of human interaction will eventually lead to loneliness that can lead to a wide range of negative consequences like anxiety, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, as well as agoraphobia. This also leads to reduced job satisfaction and underperformance.
In the absence of supervision, and a normal work structure with a well-defined arrival and departure time, it can be easy for a lone worker to overwork without realizing it.
The biggest problem with this is that employees suffer the risk of becoming burnt out, stressed, and unable to maintain a healthy work-life balance. This can lead to a wide range of health conditions that can have a lasting impact on their lives.
As you might have noted, lone working can have a significant impact on an employee’s mental health.
Even though a lot of people love the fact that they don’t have to commute to their workplace everyday, or just prefer to work on their own, not seeing or interacting with your colleagues or manager for extended periods of time is bound to make the working experience less enjoyable and satisfying which can have a negative impact on mental health.
The lack of human interaction, change of routine, and change of scenery is associated with low energy levels as well as other issues mentioned in this article.