Lone worker safety is a global issue

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'Working alone' is working anywhere a person is unable to get immediate assistance from colleagues or other people.

In some cases other people may be close by, such as a cleaner working by themselves in a city office building.  In other cases the employee could be in a remote location, such as a researcher undertaking field work by themselves in a national park.

Three broad groups of lone workers whose activities involve a large percentage of their working time operating situations without the benefit of interaction with other workers or without supervision are those:

  1. Working alone on a site
  2. Working away from base
  3. Homeworkers (including "outworkers")

It should also be noted that many of the problems of lone working could also apply to pairs of workers who work in isolated areas.


Examples of who is at risk

Example

Hazard

Taxi Drivers Abusive customers, road rage, violence
Social workers, institution staff, community workers Abusive / violent patients / clients/ relatives, manual handling (lifting) injuries
Electrical/Maintenance workers Electric shocks, trips, cuts, falls, accidents, confined spaces
Emergency services, security workers Abuse, violence, robbery, traffic hazards, accidents, biological hazards, falls, burns, toxic exposures
Farm/forestry/horticultural workers Animal attacks, weather, machinery accidents, chemicals, falling trees
Home help, care assistants, cleaners Falls, injury, lifting, injuries from garbage handling, infections, needle sticks, chemicals, violence, robbery
Domestic and Family Violence Adverse behaviour
Meter readers, delivery, postal workers Animal attacks, abusive customers, violence, robbery, accidents
Nursing staff Manual handling injuries, abusive/violent patients, drug handling, robbery, violence
Parking attendants Robbery, violence, abuse, vehicle fumes
Shop/service sector workers Robbery, violence, abuse, manual handling injuries
Public workers Confined spaces, toxic gases, biohazards, slips and falls
Transport workers Abuse, road rage, violence, robbery, road accidents, falling asleep at the wheel