In business as in most areas of life, preparation is key. If we haven’t thought about where things are going, we can’t prepare for the barriers that might get in the way of our goals. So when it comes to health and safety, proper preparation has a vast array of benefits, from keeping workers safe to increased productivity, that feed into each other to create a better business overall. Key to achieving this is conducting a risk assessment early on, and an excellent lone working risk assessment template can be invaluable.
A risk assessment for lone working, like the one you can find here, is an easy way for you to determine where your business needs to improve, create new policies, or fine-tune existing regulations relating to health and safety. Attempting to delve in for the first time without a guide can lead to mistakes, and it could cost you - the average fine for violations of HSE regulations is estimated to be about £120,000.
What is a risk assessment?
You know that you need to perform a risk assessment, but how do you go about starting? Well, the first thing you need to know is what a lone worker risk assessment is, and what it aims to achieve in the long-term. A good idea here is to find a lone worker risk assessment example, ideally from the same industry.
Put simply, a risk assessment is a review of workplace conditions and the dangers that could be present. These dangers could be posing a risk to your workers, managers or customers (or all of the above), and the person conducting the assessment must ensure that measures are taken to mitigate any risks that are highlighted at the end of the process. This is not just morally right but required by law in the UK under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
It is required under this law that all companies meet the minimum requirements of identifying risks, determining how much danger is posed, and taking reasonable steps to eliminate those risks. Generally speaking, the most common hazards are:
- Environmental hazards
- Lack of Training
- Risk of assault or robbery
- Potential for loss of communication
- Road accidents
- Working at height
- Sudden illness
- PPE not provided
How to do a risk assessment
To perform a risk assessment, first, you’ll need to identify which of the most common hazards are relevant to the type of business you do. If you work in an office, for example, you probably don’t need to worry about looking at the risks of working at height but, if you regularly have people working alone in a warehouse environment, then you’ll need to make sure there is no danger of trips, slips and falls and possibly even conduct a separate fire risk assessment.
The next step will be observing and speaking with people from every level of your organisation, determining where hazards might lie even in those areas where they may ordinarily be missed.
Once you have determined what the main risks are, you should use a template or spreadsheet (either one that’s already been made or a newly created document) to record your findings. Because you need to create an up-to-date risk assessment regularly, it’s a good idea to note the date and iteration of this sheet somewhere prominent.
Now you’re ready to complete your risk assessment, filling in information such as the nature of the hazard, the source, who it’s likely to impact, how it can be mitigated, and who needs to be involved in the process. Once this is done, the results should be made available to those across your company.