Do I need a Lone Worker System?
If you’re asking yourself, “Does my business really need a Lone Worker solution”?
You really should be thinking, “How can I protect my Lone Workers (and myself) right now?”
There is now the distinct possibility of criminal convictions (including prison) and larger fines than ever before, for serious Health & Safety transgressions.
Although in common use, many don’t appreciate the implications of the term, “Lone Worker”.
In one survey, a quarter of employees said their company never check their welfare while working alone.
What About Costs?
The cost of Lone Worker solutions are sometimes regarded as a loss-making expenditure.
Some companies just don’t see the point of investment when there’s no profit to be made.
This is negative thinking…
You have business insurance, right?
If you lose a Health & Safety legal case and you’ve broken the law, the chances of your insurance covering your losses are slim!
So, why not regard the costs of a lone worker system as an insurance policy?
What is it worth to avoid crippling fines, or even a term in prison?
If the worst does happen, companies who have (effective) policies and systems in place can mitigate their losses.
Picture the scene in the courtroom…
“Yes your honour, we supplied all necessary safety equipment and training. Unfortunately, the worker failed to use it”.
Do I have any Lone Workers?
According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), anyone who works “by themselves without close or direct supervision” is a lone worker… And they don’t even need to be your own employees. Contractors, vistors, customers, they’re all subject to your Health & Safety policies.
Can a Lone Worker put my business at risk?
If your health and safety policy doesn’t include a robust lone worker section and the worst happens, it can cost your business dearly. For a large organisation wth no lone worker policy or a badly implemented one, the fines could reach £20 million. Smaller businesses face lesser penalties, but they can be significant enough to cause serious financial problems. The Sentencing Council says, “a fine must be sufficiently substantial to have a real economic impact”.
Can a lone worker put my liberty at risk?
If you have lone workers, since the Corporate Manslaughter Act of 2007, personal prosecution and possible imprisonment should focus your attention on the importance of looking after them.
Recent legal cases have also shown that company directors can’t just claim ignorance of their obligations.
Simply employing a Health & Safety expert doesn’t relieve you of responsibility.
Did you know?
If you have less than 5 workers, there’s no legal obligation to have a written lone worker policy in place, but this doesn’t mean you can forget all about it.
It’s down to you to carry out your own risk assessments.
What must I do?
Among other things, the law says employers must:
- assess risks to employees, customers, partners and any other people who could be affected by their activities.
- consult employees about their risks at work and current preventive and protective measures.
In the event of serious injury or death, you can be sure that the HSE will assess risks after the event and decide whether responsibilities to lone workers have been flouted.
If you have a Lone Worker policy, don’t rely on workers telling you about changes in their working environment.
Sometimes, Lone Workers will accept new hazards simply because they assume that dealing with hazards is part of their job.
A lack of knowledge of current Lone Worker technology can contribute to this attitude of acceptance.
Unfortunately, if a serious incident highlights a new hazard, it’s too late… You’re the employer, and you’re liable!
You MUST re-assess risk regularly.
Increased Fines and Criminal Penalties.
New guidelines from The Sentencing Council for Health and Safety and Corporate Manslaughter offences came into force on 1st Feb 2016.
A significant quote from the guidelines is… “a fine must be sufficiently substantial to have a real economic impact, which will bring home to both management and shareholders the need to comply”.
Undoubtedly, the guidelines have increased fines across the board.
Data published by the HSE in November 2016 shows convictions in 2015-2016 resulted in fines of £38.3 million.
That’s £20 million more than 2014/15.
Take Action now.
These results have prompted many companies to take Lone Working far more seriously. The need to mitigate possible penalties by demonstrating a duty of care, is leading to increased investment in effective Lone Worker solutions.
With financial penalties reaching record highs, and the number of personal prosecutions against company directors trebling since February 2016, you will never have a bigger reason to start managing your risks.
To focus your attention further, the Sentencing Council has announced a consultation on proposals for how corporate manslaughter convictions should be sentenced. See Here.
How can Two Way Radios help in Lone Worker scenarios?
Identifying the need for, and implementing a Lone Worker solution can be a daunting task. There are various choices which vary from very simple to extremely elaborate, depending on the risk you need to mitigate.
In any lone worker situation, at the very least, you will need a system which allows your Lone Worker to raise an alarm (manual or automated) if assistance is needed.
Easy to implement, Digital Two Way Radios can deliver a cost effective safety system, which can interface with your existing infrastructure. Configurable to meet the requirements of a wide range of risk profiles, they are an ideal solution for the vast majority of Lone Worker schemes.
An escalating multiple alarm sequence is possible. These can include alarm calls to other radios (including voice alerts), phone texts, emails or even audible alarms on PC’s with visual pop-ups.
A lone worker doesn’t even have to use the radio for two way communications. It can simply be carried around as a watchdog.
To Start Protecting Your Business And Yourself
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