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Employers Face Increased Enforcement Levels Over Risks Associated With Lone Workers

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hes april 18 23Employers Face Increased Enforcement Levels Over Risks Associated With Lone Workers

The number of people considered to be lone workers in the UK is estimated to be up to 8million and employers face increasing levels of enforcement over their legal obligations to ensure their safety.

A good definition of a lone worker is an employee that carries out an activity in isolation from other workers without close or direct supervision, (Read More)

including everything from travelling sales people, home workers, night shift teams, self-employed manual labourers, and workers in remote locations working alone.

Many of these jobs also come with an increased level of threat, from care workers who may be dealing with patients reacting badly to treatment, petrol station workers who operate a 24-hr business, and oil & gas workers as well as telecoms engineers who work in hazardous conditions, often alone. Parliamentarians, who are also subject to rising levels of threat, can also fall into the category of lone worker particularly where they are out meeting the public.

And while the level of protection needed will vary depending on assessed risk level, employers have not only a moral obligation to protect employees under their supervision, but also a legal one

There is a raft of health and safety legislation governing employment of lone workers and organisations that don’t comply may be subjected to fines of up to £20million and even face prosecution.

Last year a judge issued a significant £1.8million fine against a water company for failing to ensure the safety of a lone worker who fell into a sand filtration tank and died.

An investigation into the incident highlighted the failure of the company’s staff call logging system, which left the lone worker trapped in the tank for hours before his body was found and recovered.

Regulators are increasingly minded to use a bigger stick against employers who fall foul of the law. A recent report from global law firm Clyde and Co showed that fines from prosecutions brought by HSE rose by 74% and those from local authorities increased an eye-watering 1,870% following the introduction of new guidelines earlier in 2017. The overall total value of fines increased to £73.2m, compared to £35.4 in the previous 12 months.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advises monitoring of lone workers is “essential”. Procedures can include periodic visits by supervisors, pre-agreed intervals of regular contact between the lone worker and supervisor or - the most robust option - a device that can respond in the case a lone worker has fallen or is unresponsive, or is in a situation which requires the intervention of emergency services or police.

Established in 1998, Safe Shores Monitoring is one of the longest established providers of personal safety solutions in the UK offering a range of BS8484 certified systems linked to its state-of-the-art Alarm Receiving Centre, ARC24.

The Glasgow-based company provides location-based safety systems for over 150 UK clients including government and blue-chip organisations such as CAPITA, the Health & Safety Executive and Telefonica O2.

Tom Morton, CEO of Safe Shores Monitoring, said: “Employers have a duty of care which requires them to do what they can to ensure the safety of their employees and their families.
 “Mobile technology can be used effectively to assist in mitigating risks and supporting police with response and investigations. Everyone has a right to feel safe.”
Morton also highlighted that while employers have a duty of care, employees too are required to ensure they adopt the systems put in place to ensure their safety.
“As a lone worker safety provider, Safe Shores Monitoring has seen first-hand the challenges organisations face. A lone worker solution, such as SOLO, is an essential tool used to protect men and women working on the front line, yet most organisations struggle to encourage even 50% of their lone workers to use the service provided,” he said.

“This is why Safe Shores Monitoring recently introduced Champion Support service which encourages user uptake through informal workshops and regular communication. By opening a dialogue with customers and employers, Safe Shores Monitoring has seen a dramatic increase in service uptake and are proud to be leading the industry in this field.”

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