Who Is At Risk

How many lone workers are there?

An example of the Australian market, our analysis of data provided by the Safeworker Australia 2008/2009 Annual Report estimates that there is in the region of 10.7 million workers employed in Australia.  All of these workers face a variety of risks at difference frequencies, thus putting pressure on the employee and impacting on the provision by an employer towards his or her safety and providingfull duty of care.

The diagram to the right illustrates in more detail the numbers employed across a variety of job functions in Australia in line with the type and level of risks that are regularly faced.

In addition to numbers employed, job functions are shown in line with increasing risk whether it be social risk (abuse/attack) or environmental (man-down).


Lone worker safety is a global issue

‘Working alone’ is working anywhere a person is unable to get immediate assistance from colleagues or other people

In some cases other people may be close by, such as a cleaner working by themselves in a city office building.  In other cases the employee could be in a remote location, such as a researcher undertaking field work by themselves in a national park.

Three broad groups of lone workers whose activities involve a large percentage of their working time operating situations without the benefit of interaction with other workers or without supervision are those:

  1. Working alone on a site
  2. Working away from base
  3. Homeworkers (including “outworkers”)

It should also be noted that many of the problems of lone working could also apply to pairs of workers who work in isolated areas.

Taxi DriversAbusive customers, road rage, violence
Social workers, institution staff, community workersAbusive / violent patients / clients/ relatives, manual handling (lifting) injuries
Electrical/Maintenance workersElectric shocks, trips, cuts, falls, accidents, confined spaces
Emergency services, security workersAbuse, violence, robbery, traffic hazards, accidents, biological hazards, falls, burns, toxic exposures
Farm/forestry/horticultural workersAnimal attacks, weather, machinery accidents, chemicals, falling trees
Home help, care assistants, cleanersFalls, injury, lifting, injuries from garbage handling, infections, needle sticks, chemicals, violence, robbery
Lab workersChemical over-exposure, biological agents, physical hazards, fires
Meter readers, delivery, postal workersAnimal attacks, abusive customers, violence, robbery, accidents
Nursing staffManual handling injuries, abusive/violent patients, drug handling, robbery, violence
Parking attendantsRobbery, violence, abuse, vehicle fume
Shop/service sector workersRobbery, violence, abuse, manual handling injuries
Public workersConfined spaces, toxic gases, biohazards, slips and falls
Transport workersAbuse, road rage, violence, robbery, road accidents, falling asleep at the wheel