More than two-thirds (68%) of organisations have experienced a health and safety incident involving a lone worker in the past three years, with a fifth of these incidents described as severe or very severe.
Stress, mental health issues and tiredness were a factor in 59% of recorded lone worker incidents, according to a survey of 1,300 lone workers and health and safety professionals by monitoring service StaySafe, while ill health, aggression and violence featured in the remaining 41% of incidents.
Lone worker incidents were most commonly found within manual, traditionally-male dominated industries: 76% of utilities, telco and construction companies experienced an incident in the past three years.
Charities, social services and the NHS recorded the lowest number of incidents (59%). Organisations in this group conducted the most training and 60% held briefings on regulatory requirements related to lone working.
Although 92% of organisations said that lone workers would regularly speak to them about any incidents or concerns, just 36% of lone workers said they had expressed a safety concern to their employer.
Health and safety
The majority of companies (83%) took action following a lone worker incident, usually through improved training or additional protective measures.
“The considerable under-reporting of hazards is a major concern for health and safety executives, particularly as they seem unaware that their staff aren’t having these conversations. Under-reporting can lead to employers under-estimating the real level of risk faced by staff on a daily basis and failing to put in the necessary protective measures to prevent accidents or incidents,” said StaySafe chief executive Don Cameron.
“We can see when it comes to reporting incidents, companies on the whole are doing the right thing. However, the research shows that health and safety executives can only take appropriate action when they are aware of safety concerns or potential risks and hazards that lone workers may face.”