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If a lone worker has to make a home visit this in itself can present particular risks especially where these are taking place in unfamiliar territory and or travel is involved, sometimes they may have to travel to areas regarded as high risk.

Lone workers should be fully aware of organizational procedures and be fully trained to cover these circumstances for example if the lone worker is travelling to an area where there is concern about street crime, they must consider their own personal safety and how they present themselves to others.

If you are a lone worker and find yourself in this situation you should:

  • Avoid carrying valuables in these situations
  • If you have a mobile telephone you should conceal it
  • A briefcase or diary may attract attention
  • You should check out where you are required to go in advance so that you are not wandering about looking obviously lost.

You should take into account the following when planning a home visit:-

  • Is a home visit really necessary? 
  • Could the person be interviewed at the office/health base/day centre
  • Can someone else be present with you such as a co-worker?
  • Is there any potential risk, associated with the home visit, if this is the case then you should check this out beforehand.

Ensure you check out what you know about the person. Any history of aggressive behaviour should entail a discussion with your line manager as to the best way of approaching a visit first.  With such situations, preference will always be to interview them from a work base.  Where possible you should plan the visit should be during daylight preferably in the morning as this gives time to sort out any difficult situations.

If you are not returning to the office, you should phone in to say you have finished.  You should always take a mobile phone or other means of communication, like a tracker phone with you on home visits.  Always ensure you have access to personal alarms if relevant. You should be aware they that you are not required to go into a person’s home if that person appears to be drunk or ill unless you have another colleague with you and it is deemed it safe to enter.

Policies and procedures should be in place to cover the situation of when a lone worker enters someone’s house.

Good procedures will include:

  • The checking out the exit, you should try to sit near it and be aware of potential weapons and avoid sitting on peoples beds
  • You should ask that dogs and other potentially dangerous pets are kept out of the room.
  • If the person starts to get abusive or aggressive then you should leave the situation immediately.
  • In the case of mental health assessments or removal of children you should always plan who needs to attend the assessment with you, for example, are the police necessary.

Employers should enforce the three Vs of visiting: Vet, Verify, Vigilance

Managers have a responsibility to ascertain the whereabouts of someone on a home or off-site visit, who has not reported in either at the estimated time for the visit to end or at the end of the day.

The work base should not close operations for the night until it has been ascertained that all staff have finished their visits and are safe. The staff on the visit should be contacted to confirm this or be given the opportunity to activate an agreed word or phrase to alert base that they are feeling under threat.