Lone public sector workers, such as traffic wardens and enforcement staff, often face greater risks of personal injury than people working in more obviously hazardous industries like North Sea oil, according to Allan Trowell, internal audit and risk manager for Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset.
Speaking at the Association of Local Authority Risk Managers (ALARM) annual conference in April, Trowell warned employers to take a positive approach to managing potential risks for lone workers.
He said that the first stage in the process of making the working environment safer was to identify which people were working without direct supervision. This could include large numbers of employees, from tradesmen answering emergency calls to staff running public halls.
Mr Trowell stressed: "Anyone who has an enforcement role, such as an environmental health officer investigating a noise complaint, can be at risk. People often go out to meet colleagues on site but, before they get there, they are on their own, which raises issues of transport, communication and so on. We have to ensure that the provisions of the Health and Safety at Work Act apply to everyone, whether they're working in a team or on their own."