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.
HSE workplace fatal injuries 2020
HSE’s (Health and Safety Executive) latest report ‘Workplace fatal injuries in Great Britain, 2020’ shows that the outdoor industries have the highest fatality statistics. Both the Construction sector and the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector come out the worst (60 deaths in total), accounting for the greatest number of fatalities each year, representing 54% of all workplace fatalities in 2019/20. in the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector most fatal injuries are for self-employed workers (65%), 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.
See our full news item.
HSE Health and Safety at work key facts 2020
HSE’s report “Health and Safety at work summary statistics for Great Britain 2020” explains the stark realities of injuries and fatalities and the cost to UK businesses:
- 693,000 workers sustained a non-fatal injury
- 65,427 non-fatal injuries to employees reported by employers
- 111 fatal injuries to workers
- An estimated 6.3 million working days lost due to non-fatal workplace injuries
- £5.6 billion annual costs of workplace injury
For in depth information read HSE’s “Health and safety at work summary statistics 2020.”
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:
- the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
- the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
- the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 (in the worst case scenarios)
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.