The Health and Safety Authority of Ireland (www.hsa.ie) identifies lone workers as those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision. Anybody who works alone, including contractors, self-employed people and employees, is classed as a lone worker.
Who are lone workers in Ireland and what jobs are they doing?
People identified as lone workers in Ireland span many occupations.
- A sole cashier at a Circle K (formerly Topaz) petrol station. Although there may be customers coming in and out of the premises throughout the shift, the cashier is a lone worker. They are likely to be on their own with customers which puts them in a vulnerable and potentially dangerous position.
- An Allergan lab worker. Handling chemicals and dangerous materials in a laboratory can be a risk filled occupation and becomes even more so when the worker is the only person on shift or in that area.
- A security guard/night watchman. The majority of the time doing the rounds is simple and uneventful. However, if you are the only person on site, who will know if something has happened?
- An HSE health visitor. Going to see patients in their homes puts health visitors in a dangerous situation. They are on their own in a stranger’s house and that can be a nerve-wracking experience.
Lone Worker Occupations in Ireland
The University College Dublin (http://www.ucd.ie/sirc/healthsafety/workplacesafety/loneworking/) has dedicated a page on their website to students considering occupations that involve working alone. It suggests those who may work in laboratory work, maintenance, fieldwork, or handling chemical agents (jobs considered medium to high risk activities) carry out a lone working risk assessment to identify potential hazards associated with the work and possible control measures that can be introduced to reduce the risks.
Ok Alone has a fantastic risk assessment guide (https://www.okaloneworker.com/lone-worker-risk-assessment-guide/#more-1397) that can be found on their website okaloneworker.com.
Do you need a Lone Worker System
Lone workers are owed a duty of care by their employer. Staff should be using a lone worker system that enables them to be monitored correctly. The system should ensure all workers are safe and able to check in or request help if needed. This is crucial to staff well-being, but also necessary to comply with lone working regulations in Ireland.
Ok Alone is you Lone Worker Solution
Ok Alone offers a solution to this problem. A simple, easy to use solution that is downloaded onto a worker’s phone, so there is no need to buy additional devices. The system has GPS that can be used to locate a worker if they do not respond to messages or reminders. But most importantly, Ok Alone can offer peace of mind to lone workers by letting them know that if something happens (a help alert is sent or a check in is missed) someone in their company or at the Live Monitoring facility will be alerted.