Personal safety is something we all have to navigate. Often, it’s a subconscious effort. But, when you’re a lone worker, personal safety is at the forefront of your mind constantly. Lone workers are people who work by themselves without close or direct supervision. They can be anything from delivery drivers to estate agents to home-visit nurses.
Roughly 8 million people in the UK are lone workers, and these numbers are gradually increasing every year. It’s vital that we know how to stay safe when working alone and also how best to support those who do.
Check out our top tips for staying safe as a lone worker.
Carry an alarm or lone worker device
Lone worker alarm devices are also a great tool to have. help me Angela’s personal safety app is launching soon and can act as a lone workers device.
If you feel worried or unsafe on a shift, all you need to do is simply press the ‘Help me’ button (when you do this, the app can sound an audible panic alarm if you want) – and we will try to call you immediately.
It is a gamechanger for lone workers.
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Communicate with loved ones or colleagues
When working alone, tell someone where you are, always. Whether that means texting a loved one during your shift or checking in with your manager. It is important that you communicate your location with someone you know and trust.
If your job takes you out and about to different locations, be them familiar or unfamiliar, let people know where you are and keep them updated.
By using the Follow Me feature on the help me Angela app you can share your location with your emergency contacts and the help me Angela Personal Safety Specialists. Your location will update automatically, and you can even press a button to say you’re ok as you go.
Let it go
If someone tries to take your belongings, throw them to the floor away from you and run away. As our Chief Ambassador, Michelle Roycroft, says, “property can be replaced, you can’t”. One study estimates that 54,750 lone workers are attacked each year. Nothing in your bag is more valuable than you are. Your safety should always come first. Always.
Dress for the job
If your job requires you to walk around a lot, wear comfortable shoes. If anything were to happen and you needed to run, you would be thankful for your trusty trainers. Also, if you work when it’s dark outside, be sure to wear hi-vis clothing.
If you drive for your job, park in a way that makes it easy to make a quick exit in an emergency. If possible, park in well-lit areas near street lighting or CCTV. Have your keys ready before you get to your vehicle, and lock your doors as soon as you are in it. Never leave anything valuable on display. Even loose change could make you a target for theft, so ensure all valuable items are in the boot of your car or under your seat.
If you get public transport, always check your route before you leave, and plan a few alternative ones to get you home. You never know when you might need a backup plan, and you don’t want to have to think on your feet in an emergency. When waiting for a bus or train, try to stand around other people. Once you’re on the bus or train, sit in a busy carriage or near the driver.
Some roles may require you to walk around unfamiliar areas, so be vigilant. Don’t wear anything that might hinder your hearing or sight, like headphones or hoodies. Make sure you stay on busy streets that are well lit and try to stay in sight of CCTV cameras.
Trust your instincts
As a lone worker, you may encounter times where you need to enter unfamiliar properties or walk through areas that may make you feel on edge. If something feels ‘off’ to you, trust your instincts. Don’t put the fear of not doing your job over your personal safety.
There are countless occasions when people say they wished they listened to their gut. So, trust yours. You’re getting that feeling for a reason. And if it’s a false alarm? That’s ok! It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Always be aware of your surroundings and always have an exit strategy in every situation. If you are entering a house or building, always look for your nearest exit. Do not let anyone who is a potential threat get between you and your exit. Try to sit or stand in places that don’t leave you vulnerable.
Lone workers policy
Finally, your employer has a duty of care to keep you safe. Ensure they have a solid lone worker policy, and if they don’t, ask them to improve it. These could include:
- Self-defence training
- Regular check-ins on your wellbeing
- Trying, where possible, to avoid you having to be alone with just one other member of the public
- Introducing personal safety tech like the help me Angela app
- Ask your employer to provide you with the help me Angela personal safety app.
- Always tell someone where you are.
- If someone is trying to steal your belongings, let them take them, then run away.
- Wear comfortable shoes and hi-vis clothing.
- Stay in well-lit areas and in view of CCTV.
- Check your route before you leave.
- Be vigilant.
- Trust your instincts.