worker safety

Lone Worker Safety Checklist: A Comprehensive Guide on Risk Assessments (2024)

Ensure the safety of your lone workers! Download our checklist & learn how to conduct a risk assessment to identify hazards & implement best practices.



The number of lone workers is increasing in various industries, with an estimated 15% of today’s employees reportedly working by themselves. Due to their isolation, these workers face specific challenges and risks. 

It's imperative to take proactive safety steps to protect them. A lone worker safety checklist is a key resource for this purpose, helping to identify and address the risks these workers face. Together with a detailed risk assessment, it helps organizations ensure a safer work environment for lone workers, keeping them safe and connected, no matter where they are.

The importance of lone worker risk assessment

Performing a risk assessment is essential, not just to meet legal requirements but to ensure the safety, health, and efficiency of employees working alone. This process is crucial for spotting potential dangers, assessing their likelihood, and taking steps to reduce their effects. According to a World Health Organization report, many work-related deaths and injuries can be prevented. With around two million work-related deaths worldwide each year and an increase in fatal work injuries in the US, the need for comprehensive risk assessments is clear.

Ignoring workplace safety has significant financial consequences too. The National Safety Council reported that workplace injuries cost US businesses about $167 billion, including lost wages and medical expenses. This highlights the economic impact of workplace accidents. Thorough risk assessments can save money in the long run, as businesses that focus on safety not only reduce accident-related costs but also see better financial results overall.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to protect their employees, which means taking proactive steps to ensure their safety. A detailed lone worker safety checklist and risk assessment help create a safety-focused culture, especially important for employees working by themselves and facing specific risks.

Understanding lone worker risks

A lone worker is someone who works by themselves without close supervision, such as home healthcare nurses or utility workers in remote areas. Working alone exposes them to specific risks.

These workers can face various dangers, including physical attacks, especially if they interact with the public or handle valuables, and medical emergencies where help isn't immediately available. Environmental risks, like working at night or in inclement weather, can make any situation worse.

Using a lone worker safety checklist is key to reducing these risks. By carefully examining work conditions, potential dangers, and the nature of lone work, you can create specific safety plans. These might include using emergency communication tools, setting up regular check-ins, providing hazard recognition training, etc. This proactive approach helps lone workers know the risks and how to protect themselves, greatly lowering the chance of accidents and improving safety overall.

Read our post: Hazards of Lone Working: How to Manage Lone Working Risks

Comprehensive lone worker safety checklist: Pre-work planning

  • Conduct a lone worker risk assessment

It's important to assess risks before starting lone work. This means looking at the work environment, tasks, and equipment to spot potential hazards, assess how likely and severe these risks are, and figure out ways to reduce them. Use government guidelines and safety organizations' resources for help.

For more information on laws and regulations, check out our post: Understanding OSHA Working Alone Laws: A Comprehensive Guide

  • Implement a clear lone working policy

Create a detailed policy for lone working that explains the procedures, what's expected, and the responsibilities of employers and workers. This policy is key for a safe work environment and making sure everyone knows their safety roles.

Find out more: Lone Worker Safety Policy: Mastering Workplace Protection

  • Ensure clear communication

Keep open lines of communication with lone workers. Share safety protocols, emergency procedures, and updates on work conditions or risks clearly to ensure workers understand how to stay safe.

  • Provide training

Training is crucial for lone worker safety. Offer training on spotting hazards, reducing risks, and responding to emergencies, so workers are ready to handle potential dangers.

Equip your team with skills and knowledge to stay safe with our post: Why Lone Worker Training is Vital

  • Equip staff with appropriate safety solutions

Based on the risks you've identified, give lone workers the safety equipment they need. This could include lone worker safety solutions such as Aware360’s SafetyAware, protective gear, lone worker alarms, or panic buttons like the Belle X, to help them stay safe and handle emergencies.

  • Establish a check-in system

Set up a system for regular check-ins to keep track of lone workers' safety and whereabouts. This helps provide support and a response to any issues that arise.

Tips during work:

  • Stay alert: Workers should always be aware of their surroundings and any new hazards.
  • Follow safety protocols: Workers must stick to safety rules and procedures to reduce risks.
  • Utilize lone worker safety devices: Workers should have and use personal safety devices like alarms or panic buttons.
  • Communicate changes: Report any unexpected changes or situations to the designated contact right away.

Post-work procedures:

  • Confirm safe return: Make sure lone workers are safely back from their tasks.
  • Debrief: Talk about any concerns, experiences, or feedback after each shift to improve safety practices.
  • Review and update safety program: Keep the safety program up to date by regularly reviewing and adjusting it based on feedback and any changes in the work.

Additional considerations

In addition to the physical safety steps in the lone worker safety checklist, it's important to also focus on the mental health of lone workers. Working alone can make employees feel cut off, stressed, and face other mental health issues. It was reported that 83% of construction industry workers have experienced some form of moderate to severe mental health issue, so it's vital to provide mental health support. This includes counseling, mental health days, and programs that help workers connect and support each other, even when working remotely or alone.

Creating a safety-focused culture in the organization is also key. This means promoting open communication and making it easy for workers to report safety issues without fear. The goal is to make safety a shared responsibility, ensuring workers feel valued and safe. Encouraging feedback, holding safety meetings, and acknowledging those who help make the workplace safer are ways to build this culture.

Adding these mental health and cultural elements to your lone worker safety checklist not only improves physical safety but also supports the mental health and sense of belonging of your employees.

Mental health of lone workers has become a major topic more recently. Take a closer look at the future of workplace safety with our top safety trends and predictions for 2024.

Downloadable checklist

Here at Aware360, we've made a downloadable and printable lone worker risk assessment template for easy use and reference. This checklist helps you cover all the key steps to keep lone workers safe in your organization.

Please share this with your teams, safety officers, and any other important parties. Using the lone worker safety checklist is a big move towards creating a safer workplace, encouraging a safety-first mindset, and making sure everyone in your organization knows how to stay safe and protect others.

Aware360: The answer to lone worker safety

Focusing on lone worker safety with detailed checklists and risk assessments is essential, not just for compliance but because it's the right thing to do. The lone worker safety checklist is key for spotting risks, taking preventive action, and looking after the health of employees who work alone. 

We urge you to download our risk assessment and safety checklist to protect your employees. Putting these practices in place shows you're serious about a safe workplace and care about your team's health and safety.

If you need more help or resources, Aware360 provides various solutions to improve lone worker safety, including our state-of-the-art lone worker safety solutions. Our services aim to keep your employees safe and connected.

The safety of your lone workers is crucial. Book a meeting with our safety experts and find out how you can create a safer environment for everyone in your organization.

Meet with our experts and learn how we can support your organization’s safety culture

Similar posts