Lone Working Policy 

 Policy  

This policy is intended to alert volunteers and employees who perform their duties and tasks alone (“lone workers”) to the risks presented by lone working, to identify the responsibilities each person has in this situation, and to describe procedures to manage the relevant risks.   

Refugees at Home (RaH) sets a priority on the health and safety of lone workers and works to protect them. RaH has two types of lone workers, each of which are discussed in further detail below: 

  • Home based administrative workers; and 
  • Home visitors. 

RaH understands its duty as an organisation to ensure lone workers are aware of any risks and to support lone workers with taking steps to avoid or control those risks where necessary.   

RaH recognises that anyone working alone in potentially isolated conditions has no immediate back-up or support and so is potentially at risk of verbal and/or physical aggression directed towards them from guests, hosts, relatives or the general public.   

RaH understands its duty as an organisation to advise lone workers to be aware of risks and to take precautions to deal with circumstances which are new or unusual, for example, if threatened with verbal abuse, aggression or violence.  

Home based workers 

  • Employees and volunteers working from home (“home workers”) have the same health and safety duties as other staff and must take reasonable care of their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by their actions or omissions. 
  • Home workers subject to verbal abuse should terminate the contact at the earliest opportunity and seek advice and support from the core team to prevent a recurrence. 
  • Home workers should not have meetings in their home with any person (whether host, guest or otherwise) in connection with the performance of their tasks or duties. 
  • Home workers should ensure that working patterns and levels of work are not detrimental to their health and wellbeing and should contact their line manager if they have any concerns in this regard. 
  • Home workers are responsible for ensuring that they have sufficient and appropriate equipment for working from home. RaH are not responsible for the provision, maintenance or repair of any personal equipment used by employees and volunteers in the course of performing their duties or tasks for us. 
  • Home workers should ensure that they appropriately secure any confidential or private information in their possession and should ensure that they observe the requirements of data protection laws and any data protection policy operated by RaH from time to time. 

The Employee Handbook and induction help to ensure that employees understand the risks, the associated safety precautions and whom to contact for support. 

Home visitors  

Home Visitors undertake periodic visits to an individual’s home for the purposes of assessment or, in unusual circumstances, follow up. They may occasionally meet a guest. 

All Home Visitors have a professional background and experience of attending and assessing people’s homes, and on that basis RaH expects Home Visitors are competent to work alone and able to rely on their own judgement and initiative to understand the risks and precautions needed. In rare circumstances the Home Visitor may assess from the information at hand that it is safe to visit but may decide it is appropriate to attend with a colleague. 

  • The name and address for each home visit will be available in the RaH database. Procedures are in place for Home Visitors to ensure they remain safe and to provide support. These procedures include advising them to inform a family member, friend or other responsible person about the time and place of home visits or meetings and when they expect to complete the visit. 
  • Home visitors are advised to carry mobile phones so that they can summon help quickly; all phones should include contact numbers of the responsible person they advised of the visit and the administration staff of RaH. 
  • If RaH is aware of any reason to be concerned about the mental health or volatility of any host the host will be considered unsuitable and no home visit will be set up. 
  • Administrative staff and volunteers who run the database should log and keep details of all the names, addresses and telephone numbers of home visitors, hosts and guests. 
  • Administrative staff who run the database should contact the core team in the event of any emergency situations reported to them. After the incident the lone worker should inform a core team member for support and to ensure any lessons are learned. 
  • In a situation where a lone worker feels under immediate threat of their physical safety and/or the home being visited has serious health and safety concerns, they should leave immediately or contact the police directly giving their location and telephone number. 
  • It is strongly advised that employees and volunteers park their car in a well-lit, public place if possible and do not leave bags etc. on show to avoid thefts. If on foot then employees and volunteers should avoid dark, unlit, isolated routes if feasible.  

Lone Workers’ Security Policy 

When an employee or volunteer contacts or visits a host or guest in the hosts’ home he or she may be at risk of physical or verbal assaults and hostility from hosts, guests, relatives or the general public. There may also be health and safety hazards in the home. 

As a general principle, lone workers should take reasonable precautions to ensure their own safety as they would in any other situation. If volunteers or employees feel their safety could be jeopardised, they should take steps to remove themselves from the situation immediately – the safety of our volunteers and employees is our priority. Any concerns or questions should be discussed with a Core team member as soon as possible, as explained in further detail below. 

Untoward Incidents  

Any untoward incidents, including any incidents which involve the use or threat of aggression or violence, should be regularly reported, reviewed and audited.  

Induction and Training  

The policy can be found as an addendum in the Employee and Home Visitor Handbooks. All employees and volunteers should read this policy as part of the induction process and ensure they are clear about how to act in ways that will maximise their own safety and about what to do in an emergency situation. If necessary, they should consult a member of the core team for additional advice. 

 

Adopted by the Board in November 2018 

Reviewed, updated and adopted by the Board on 14 September 2020 

Reviewed, updated and adopted by the Board on 11 October 2021 

 

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