LONE WORKER LEGISLATION
Laws, rules, European regulations : there are several lone working regulations to protect the growing number of lone workers worldwide. What are the employer responsabilities and legal obligations ? Discover everything you must know here!
What is the meaning of "lone worker"?
Lone workers are those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision and cannot be rescued quickly.
What are the risks that lone workers face?
Lone working does not represent a risk in itself but can increase the probability of accident. The speed of intervention can be decisive for the survival of an accident's victim.
The lone worker is exposed to multiple types of risks:
Psychosocial risks (PSR)
Lone workers are exposed to PSR. These PSR concern for example stress or violence and can be the cause of anxiety, exhaustion or illness.
In a lone working situation, the employee may face external violence without anyone being able to come to his aid. In particular, he or she may be the victim of verbal or physical aggression. This can cause trauma but also physical injuries.
Some people may have pathologies that cause sudden symptoms: dizziness, anxiety attacks, epileptic seizures... These symptoms may then require special assistance, lone working should be avoided.
lone workers in Europe, USA and Canada in 2015*, including around 8 millions in the UK
*Berg Insight study
of all employees can be considered as lone workers
*Berg Insight "Lone Worker Safety Solution", First Edition 2021
lone workers using a safety solution in Europe and North America in 2020
*Berg Insight study
What is the law on lone working?
The employer responsabilities
Employers must ensure the safety of their employees, regardless of the company's sector of activity. He must do everything that is possible to limit the risk of accidents for his employees. If lone working can't be avoided, the employee must be given a way to be rescued in case of danger.
2 solutions :
- An active human surveillance
- Indirect surveillance (this is where Beepiz comes in!)
Directive 2007/30/EC of the European Parliament and the Council amending Council Directive 89/391/EEC.
European countries must take the necessary measures to comply with this directive regarding the improvement of the health and safety of employees.
International legislation : Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, Germany, the UK, Sweden, Portugal...
Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
"It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably praticable, the health, safetu and welfare at work of all his employees."
Management of Health & Safety at Work 1999
"Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work"
General regulations for the protection of work Title II / Chapter I / Section IX / Article 54ter
"Any worker employed in isolation has the appropriate means of alarm in the circumstances. No work to be performed in hazardous conditions should be entrusted to a lone worker. The presence of another person who can quickly give the alarm is necessary."
According to the SECO*: "For each person working alone, it is necessary to create the possibility of calling for help in case of need near their workstation, either using a phone, a device, a cable or radio alarm or even through a monitoring system. "
The lone worker safety regulations are based on the current legal and occupational requirements (Rules 112-139 of the German Social Accident Insurance).
The NTP 344, takes into account lone workers situation:
"The company must put in place systems that provide faster and more efficient assistance for people who work alone."
According to Article 29(1), "if an employee works alone and as a result the work entails evident hazards or risks to the employee’s safety or health, the employer shall ensure that the hazard or risk is avoided or minimized while the employee is working alone."
The law n°102/2009 (10th September) adapts the directive 2007/30/EC about health and safety at work.
"The STM: (Multisectoral Occupational Health Service) is a public establishment whose responsibility comes from the Luxembourg Minister of Health. It takes care of governing the various rules so that a lone worker can be comfortable in his mission and therefore feel protected:The employer must ensure the safety of his employee.It must also prevent the risk of accidents. "
Lone working : what measures can be taken?
A safety solution for all lone workers
If an employee cannot be rescued quickly (direct supervision), the employer must provide an "indirect supervision". In this case, a lone worker app can be the solution.
A lone worker safety device is an alarm device made for lone workers. It aims at ensuring their safety by sending an alert to the emergency services if needed.
Lone worker policy
To ensure its employees safety, employers can have a lone worker policy in their company. It is a written document that presents the good practices and safety measures that both the employer and employee must follow to avoid accidents.
Beepiz respects the GDPR!
Respecting the privacy of one of our priorities. The Beepiz device respects the privacy requirements of the EU GDPR.
More questions about lone working
Can an employee refuse lone working? ⚠️
Lone working is completely legal and is necessary in some cases. Refusing to work in a lone working situation if there is no danger, for an employee, could be deemed as failure to carry out their role. However, employers have legal duties regarding the safety of the employees and particularly the safety of lone workers. They have to prove that they have taken the proper measures to assure their safety.
Can remote workers be considered as lone workers? 🏠
When he works from home, the employee can be considered as a lone worker if he/she works alone at home and cannot be seen or heard in case of an accident.
As for any other lone worker, the employer must take the necessary measures to ensure the safety of the employee.
Is it possible to be sendentary (work in an office) and be a lone worker? 💼
Although lone working generally concerns more mobile workers or outdoor workers (technicians, security guards, maintenance, workers, site managers, etc.), sedentary workers can also be concerned. If the employee works in an individual office, he/she can be a lone worker as soon as he/she is out of sight and voice of another employee.
In an open space, for example, it may happen that some employees come earlier (or stay later): they will be isolated during this time.