Protecting your lone workers and your business

To set the scene let's consider the latest workplace fatalities and injuries statistics, which firmly put into context the reasons why Health and Safety laws exist. Our summary of the legislation and the particular laws around lone working will help you understand the greater risks for lone workers and what may go wrong.

Photograph of lone working female surveyor using a theodolite.

HSE workplace fatal injuries 2023

HSE’s (Health and Safety Executive) latest report ‘Work-related fatal injuries in Great Britain, 2022/23’ advises 135 workers were killed in work-related accidents, an increase from 2021/22. 82% of fatal injuries occurred in five industry sectors: Construction; Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing; Manufacturing; Transportation and Storage; and Wholesale, Retail, Motor vehicle repair, Accommodation and Food services. The statistics show that the outdoor industries have the highest fatality rates. The Construction sector and the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector come out the worst (66 deaths in total) representing 49% of all workplace fatalities in 2022/23.

33% of fatal injuries to workers were to the self-employed even though such workers only made up around 15% of the workforce. In the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector most fatal injuries were to self-employed workers (64%) which is higher than any other industry.

The main causes of injuries are attributed to falls from a height, struck by a moving vehicle, struck by moving objects, trapped by something collapsing or overturning and contact with moving machinery.

In addition, 68 members of the public were also killed in work-related accidents in 2022/23.

See HSE Report.

HSE injury at work key facts 2022/23

HSE’s statistics explain the stark realities of injuries and the cost to UK businesses:

  • 561,000 workers sustained a non-fatal injury
  • 60,645 employee non-fatal injuries were reported by employers
  • 473,000 workers suffered from a work-related musculoskeletal disorder
  • Slips, trips and falls on the same level were the most common accident (32%)
  • An average of 9 days taken off work due to a workplace injury*
  • £7.7 billion annual costs due to workplace injury (equivalent to unit cost of £1.9m per fatal injury, £12,000 per non-fatal injury)*
  • An estimated 18,700 workers withdraw permanently from the labour market annually as a result of a workplace injury or work-related ill health. This is an important sub-set of cases since they incur large costs.*

* This year’s estimates for 2021/22 are based on a rolling three-year average of data from the years 2019/20, 2021/22 and 2022/23.

For in depth information read HSE’s report published November 2023: “Costs to Britain of workplace fatalities and self-reported injuries and ill health, 2021/22.”

Your duty of care for your workers

As an employer you have responsibility for the health, safety and welfare of all your workers. This means making sure they are protected from anything that may cause harm and you must do whatever is reasonably practicable to achieve this. This includes all employees, contractors and self employed staff who are working for you. Failure to protect those in your care can result in fines and in extreme cases custodial sentences.

Three key pieces of legislation apply to lone workers; you need to comply with your legal duties towards any workers you have under:

What can lone workers do to keep safe

In addition, your workers have a duty of care to themselves and to others who may be affected by their work. All workers need to ensure that they comply with any reasonable instructions, policies and procedures set out by an employer. It is important that they too stay up to date with all health and safety and lone worker advice and request updates regularly.

HSE provide thorough guidance on how to protect your business and your workers.

Protecting your lone workers

HSE provide further specific guidance if you have lone workers

As an employer, you must manage any health and safety risks before people can work alone, including contractors and self-employed people. This is because there will always be greater risks for lone workers without direct supervision or anyone to help them if things go wrong.

You'd like to speak with us?

Trackplot's team are here to help – to discuss your lone working requirements or to give advice and customer support.

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