Lone Worker Statistics Worldwide 2024

Lone Worker Statistics Worldwide 2024

The number of lone workers has increased significantly in the last decade. It’s now estimated that approximately 20% of employees are lone workers for at least some part of the day. 

With such a marked increase in lone workers, safety is a major consideration for businesses in sectors such as maintenance, agriculture, transportation, warehousing, delivery, security and healthcare. To better understand what affects lone workers, how these workers require employer support, and their different demographics, we examined data from Polly that covers these and other important topics. The data is based on the responses and engagement of 1,228,909 lone workers globally and covers a full year. 

Here’s what the 2024 lone worker statistics reveal.

Over 50% of lone workers surveyed are in the maintenance sector

Based on Polly’s data, it’s easy to see which sectors have the highest number of lone workers among those surveyed. Find out what the graph below reveals and why maintenance has the largest number.

In the US, there is a shortage of skilled workers in industrial maintenance. This highlights the demand for more workers in this sector. Based on this, it makes sense that 54.7% of the lone workers surveyed are in maintenance. In the US, there is a shortage of skilled workers in maintenance, which creates huge demand for more workers in the sector.

Lone workers in transportation come in second; however, the gap to maintenance is relatively large at 24.2%.

Lone workers in the transport sector have an engagement level of 30.5%, and there is a 21.1% gap to the third-most engaged group: janitorial services racked up 9.4%, which may be a result of janitors also considering themselves maintenance workers.

Only 2.5% of lone workers surveyed work in a warehouse, while 1% are in healthcare. Security, at 0.9%, delivery, at 0.3%, and construction, at 0.3%, are somewhat surprising, as lone workers, by definition, spend hours working alone and without direct supervision. Even more surprising is that agriculture and utilities only had a 0.1% engagement, as these are also jobs that often involve solo work without any supervision.

Explosions cause the highest number of lone worker injuries

Lone workers often work in high-risk environments, with high voltages, heavy machinery and equipment, fires, accidents and collisions being part of the job. Here’s what the survey revealed about the most and least common lone worker injuries suffered.

Explosions top the list, with 69% of lone workers surveyed having been injured as a result of an explosion. As explosions tend to be catastrophic, this high number makes sense. In contrast, 15% of the lone workers surveyed suffered from injuries involving vehicle accidents, while assault affected 8%. 

Violence in the workplace is a major concern for lone workers: recent reports show that 649,000 reported cases of violence take place in UK workplaces annually. With assaults leading to the third highest number of workplace injuries it highlights an issue that is not limited to the UK. 

Of those surveyed, 4.7% were injured as a result of fire, while equipment malfunction (1.6%) and slips and falls (1.2%) also have low numbers of injuries. Both falling objects and electrical shocks injured 0.3% of those surveyed, ranking these lowest. Considering that, between 2011 and 2022, a total of 1,322 workplace fatalities in the US involved electricity, the number of survey respondents who have been injured by electrical shocks is comparatively low.

Safety training is the most desired support option for approximately 30% of those surveyed

While lone workers are largely unsupervised, they still require support from their employers. The data from Polly highlights the areas respondents feel are the most desirable in relation to support that can be offered. 

With lone work often exposed to greater risks, safety training is clearly a priority, with 28.7% of those surveyed saying it was the most desirable form of support an employer can offer. Mental health support comes in at 23.6%, which correlates with the fact that lone workers are considered more vulnerable. Studies show that, compared to non-lone workers, lone workers are 2.37 times more likely to rate their mental health status as very poor. 

Other lone worker employer support that survey respondents highly desired was access to personal protective equipment (12.2%), a check-in system (7.8%) and regular communication (7.2%), all highlighting the need to make both physical and mental safety a priority.

Risk assessments were also important for lone workers, with 6.7% citing these as desirable employee support, and a buddy system attracted 6.1% engagement. One of the challenges lone workers face is isolation, and a buddy system is integral in alleviating this while simultaneously enhancing mental health

At the bottom of the list were emergency response systems access (5.2%) and clear guidelines and procedures (2.5%). This may be due to the fact that most lone workers are aware of who to contact in an emergency and will likely act on their own initiative if no clear policies and procedures are in place.

Highest number of lone workers surveyed were aged 65+

According to the data, the majority of lone workers surveyed were over 45 years old. See below what the stats say about lone worker demographics globally.

While the average retirement age globally is 65, there are clearly a large number of lone workers who are 65 years old or older. Polly’s data surveyed over 1.2 million people around the world and, of those respondents, the highest number, at 29.3%, were 65 years of age or older. In the 55–64-year-old category, there were 27.4%, and in the 45–54-year-old category, 16.6%. 

There was only 0.3% difference between the 35–44-year-olds (10.6%) and under 25s (10.9%), with the 25–34-year-old age group in the middle having the lowest number of respondents at just 5.1%. Looking at these statistics, it appears that there is an influx of lone workers at a young age, which then tapers off before growing again incrementally. 

63% of respondents work in the US

From the USA to Poland, the graph below indicates where the respondents for this lone worker survey are based around the world.

According to a National Safety Council (NSC) report, it’s estimated there are 53 million lone workers in the US, Canada and Europe. Polly’s data covered these areas, with the USA having the majority of workers at 63% based there…. The UK ranked second, but only 13.2% of respondents were from the UK – a gap of nearly 50%. Australia and Canada were almost tied at 8.9% and 8.8%, respectively.

Germany, with 2.2%, France at 2.8% and Italy, with 1%, had a lower proportion of lone workers surveyed. Moving away from Europe was Mexico at 0.8%, while back in Europe and right at the bottom were Spain and Poland with 0.2% and 0.1%, respectively. 

Only 0.4% separates male and female lone workers surveyed

Of the 1.2 million lone workers surveyed, the gender gap was extremely small. The graph below shows how just a few points of 0.4% separate men and women globally.

In the US, just under 47% of workers are female, while in the UK, women make up 46% of the workforce. When it comes to the gender divide in lone workers globally, however, this percentage is even smaller. Of the respondents surveyed, 49.8% identified as women and 50.2% as men. 

This slim margin between the two shows that there is far less of a gender divide than many would imagine, especially when considering the risks that the lone workers surveyed were engaged in. 

Just under a third of lone workers surveyed earn $200,000 to $500,000

The graph below reveals the income bracket for the respondents of the survey as a percentage.

In the US, the federal minimum wage is approximately$15,000 annually, putting the majority of lone workers above this. Of those surveyed, 32.2% earned well above this, with an income between $200,000 and $500,000; 25.5% of respondents earn between $120,000 and $200,000, while 17.2% earn between $80,000 and $120,000.

Those earning $40,000 to $80,000 accounted for 10.8%, while those below the $40,000 threshold were 8.4%. The lowest number of earners were in the highest income bracket, which is not unusual: 5.5% of respondents earned $500,000 to $1,000,000 – a salary that is considered extremely high in the US. Those earning $335,891 a year are in the top 5% of the US population, while those taking home $819,324 are in the top 1%. 

There is certainly a large demand for lone workers worldwide with a vast number of people filling these positions around the world, even though they may face greater risks. Polly’s data provides interesting insights into those who work in this industry, what their priorities are and how much they can earn for working without supervision.

About the data 

The data in this article is from Polly and is based on independent samples of 1,228,909 people worldwide. It is based on responses on social media platforms such as TikTok, X and Reddit, spanning 12 months ending 18 June 2024.

The responses were collected and analyzed to produce outcomes within a 90% confidence interval and 5% margin of error. The engagement estimated the number of people participating in the location. 

The demographics were determined using multiple factors, including name, location and self-disclosed description. Privacy was preserved using k-anonymity and differential privacy. The results are based on what people describe online – the questions are not posed to a sample group.

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