Where female employees are working or travelling alone, it is important that a tracing system is in place that enables the employer/colleagues to know where the lone worker is and who they are with at all times.
Risk assessments should be carried out by the employer to identify any risks related to the staff, environment or tasks involved in the lone working aspects of the job. Additional gender related risks should be considered. Control measures should be incorporated in safe systems of work and staff should be trained in these areas of their job roles and activities.
Female staff should be made aware of the hazards and risks they face when working and travelling alone as they need to be able to make quick risk assessments themselves, which can help decide how safe a situation is and what action they should take to avoid danger.
Here are some tips on managing lone working in different environments.
Put together an emergency kit for your car. A coat, first aid kit, torch, spare change, bottled water, and a mobile telephone charger are all advisable.
Plan where you will park before you set off when driving to meetings. Park as close to your destination as possible. Consider what the area will be like then and try to park near street lights, if you will be returning after dark.
Consider where the entrances and exits are when parking in a car park. Avoid walking through an isolated car park to get to and from your car.
Park away from pillars/barriers. If you can, reverse into your space so you can drive away easily.
Be aware of your surroundings when approaching your car; have your keys ready and check that no one is inside. Once in, lock the doors.
If you break down, only get out of your car when and if you feel it is safe to do so. Check your surroundings.
Not responding to aggression from other drivers can avoid road rage incidents.
If the driver of another car forces you to stop and then gets out of their vehicle, keep your engine running, stay in your car with the doors locked and reverse to escape if you need to.
Try to use well-lit, busy streets and use the route you know best. Walk against oncoming traffic to remain visible.
Avoid badly-lit alleyways, subways, isolated car parks and other potential danger spots. On deserted streets, walk down the middle of the pavement.
Act on instinct, if a person or a place makes you feel uncomfortable, it is better to move away before a problem arises.
To prevent waiting around for long periods for public transport, obtain timetable and fare information before travelling.
Plan ahead, e.g. what time does the last bus/train leave? Before you go on a work journey, think about how you are going to get home.
Wait in well-lit areas and near emergency call points and CCTV cameras when waiting for public transport in the hours of darkness.
Be discreet with anything that would make you identifiable as an employee of an organisation (e.g. uniforms/ID badges) that could cause you to receive unwelcome attention from the public (e.g. the armed forces).
Utilise a list of licensed taxi or minicab companies from your local council.
Carry the telephone number of a licensed taxi or minicab firm or add a suitable booking app to your phone.
Always book your minicab in advance. Un-booked cabs are illegal and potentially dangerous.
When booking, ask for the driver and car details and check them when the taxi arrives. Also confirm with the driver whose name the taxi is booked under.
Ask the taxi to stop in a busy area and let you out if the driver makes you feel uneasy for any reason.
Don’t give out personal details when you are in the taxi.