Personal Safety and Lone Working
Lone working can feature in many professions from estate agency to social work and support work. It is any form of working alone and often refers to situations where you have appointments with people in the community and go on your own to meet them. While the majority of people you will meet with will be honest and open there are risks associated with lone working and it is wise to take steps to ensure your safety.
Take Down Contact DetailsWhen making an appointment with a member of the public it is important that you make a note of their name, address and contact number. Store this information somewhere centrally so that colleagues can access it. It is important that others are aware of who you are meeting and their details. If anything should go wrong or you don’t return from a meeting then colleagues will know who you have been meeting and will be able to contact them.
If you are a self employed lone worker then it is a good idea to notify a family member or friend of your whereabouts and to give them background information on the person you are meeting. The key is to share information so that you are not isolated.
Keep in CommunicationAlways take your mobile phone with you to meetings so that you have a means of communicating with colleagues. Keep it switched on so that others can also contact you. Let colleagues know when you are setting off to a meeting, where the meeting is and roughly how long you expect to be. Once your meeting is over text or phone colleagues to let them know.
Your workplace should have a system in place so that alarm bells are triggered if you do not get in touch within a certain time after a meeting. They should then attempt to contact you to check up on your safety and wellbeing. Some organisations provide lone workers with mobile phones with panic buttons on them. Pressing the panic button links the phone through to a central number and code words can be used to request assistance.
Use Common SenseIf possible arrange your meeting in a central, public area. If this is not possible make sure that others are informed of where you will be for example the home of the person you are meeting. Keep alert to your surroundings and always be aware of where the exits are.
Other Practical SkillsYou may wish to consider First Aid training not only for your own benefit but also for the benefit of the members of the public you encounter. If you regularly meet with others on your own you may want to take responsibility in the event of an accident or illness occurring when you are with the other person.
You may also benefit from practical training on personal safety from the police or the Suzy Lamplugh Trust. Learn to become alert and aware of your surroundings and do not spread your belongings out e.g. during a home visit.