With a combined experience of approximately 30 years the authors have worked in 10 different industries where the challenge of lone worker safety has existed. In the course of their careers they have helped companies in the identification of lone workers and how to control the hazards presented. In their current role, they consult with a variety of industries, including manufacturing, municipalities, energy, and construction, on various safety topics including the management of lone workers. Through their work experience the authors have identified the need for adapting hazard identification, traditional safety definitions and programs relating to lone workers to our ever-changing world.
The traditional definition of a "lone worker" is changing as a direct result of our changing world and culture. The traditional definition identifies a situation in which personnel work with hazardous materials or in a position with a high degree of risk, otherwise known as a safety-sensitive position. The traditional definition takes into account personnel with high risk; high exposure while the new definition along with an effective hazard assessment will show how low risk personnel can now have high implications on a company. This paper will cover how companies may want to change the definition of a lone worker, the steps to conduct a hazard assessment to quantify the level of exposure in their workplace, and ways to control the risk exposure through safety policies and procedures or emergency management plans. Whether a seasoned safety and health professional, executive or top management, or someone just assigned to safety in their organization, this paper will present various tools for the reader to take back to their workplace.