The descriptor’ member’ refers to anyone working with the NCHP/NSTT in the capacities of:
The policy is for all members who work without clear and immediate access to another person for assistance. Contexts covered in this policy are:
- Private practice from home.
- Private practice from other premises.
- For those working on an employer’s premises, please also check with the employer’s policies on lone working.
When working in private practice, members must take responsibility for considering the potential risks around lone working and take action to mitigate these risks where possible. In addition, practitioners must demonstrate that they are taking reasonable care of themselves, and anyone affected by their actions. Members working for an employer must ensure they are familiar with any employer’s lone working policy or policies that may exist within rented premises.
This policy is intended to support our members to:
- Identify risks associated with safety when lone working.
- Risk assess their working circumstances;
- Take reasonable actions to eliminate or reduce risks as far as reasonably practicable.
- Consider the appropriate support systems available to them.
- Ensure that they report, and record incidents relating to lone working and use these to reflect on how it may be possible to prevent future incidents.
Members are encouraged to speak with their supervisor to discuss the risks to health and safety within their lone working circumstances and assess potential risks or concerns.
Some hazards will be out of the practitioner’s control, and some may be able to be addressed in the immediate term. It is essential that members also re-evaluate this risk assessment process should the environment change (for example, in the case of COVID-19) and follow all relevant guidelines. Members are responsible and encouraged to decide whether it is safe to continue working or withdraw from a situation.
All members should carry out a risk assessment of their working practices. If members are working for an employer, they should ask about the employer’s risk assessment procedures to identify what is already in place, and they should follow the guidance that the employer provides.
A risk assessment should include (whether working from home or other premises):
- Awareness of all possible entrances and exits to the room.
- Emergency contact numbers and methods of communication in place.
- If in rented accommodation or working for someone else, awareness of any onsite security/CCTV systems.
- Consideration of alarm systems both in the building and considering the use of a personal alarm.
- If working in a client’s home, the operation of a ‘buddy’ system with someone practitioners can check in with before and after a session.
- Ensuring that practitioners follow any guidance on lone working from their insurance company.
- Ensuring that practitioners can confirm a client’s identity before an initial appointment.
- Having a dedicated work telephone number rather than a personal or home phone number where possible.
- Consideration of what personal items are on show in any areas where clients may go.
- Considering how clients will enter and leave the therapy room and what parts of personal premises they will pass through.
- Positioning seating so that practitioners have a clear path should they need to leave the room quickly.
- Ensuring practitioners consider personal boundaries and where they draw the line between personal and professional spaces.
Reporting and Reflecting:
Any accident or incident should be reported and reflected on to ensure all reasonable care to prevent it from happening again. If practitioners work for an employer, please check with them their reporting systems. If they are working in private practice, ensure that they create a system for recording any incident, no matter how minor, that has the potential to cause injury, ill health or damage and discuss this in clinical supervision.