The Office of National Statistics estimates that there are nearly 8 million lone workers in the UK.
The Sentencing Council guidelines state that a Corporate Manslaughter fine should be up to £20 million.
It’s reported that 18% of people now spend over half of their time as a Lone Worker.
It’s estimated that over 160 assaults and attacks take place on lone workers every day.
The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) definition of a lone worker is someone who “work[s] by themselves without close or direct supervision”. This broad definition can include any employee who spends time in an office on their own, travelling between meetings, or even working at home or in a café – either regularly or on the odd occasion.
Many of these individuals work in conditions that expose them to personal danger from work-related violence or verbal abuse, accidents, serious illness or injury. And due to the fact that they are on their own this puts them at a greater risk should the worst happen. What does this mean for employers?
Employers have a legal and moral Duty of Care to staff to protect them from unnecessary risk. Establishing a healthy and safe working environment for lone workers can be different from organising the health and safety of other employees. They should not be put at more risk than other people working for you. It will often be safe to work alone. However, the law requires employers to think about and deal with any health and safety risks before people are allowed to do so.
If an employee suffers harm at work as a consequence of doing their job, the organisation and their directors could end up in court. And if it can be proven that the systems employed aren’t up to the job of protecting workers, they may be in breach of numerous pieces of Health and Safety legislation. This could have disastrous consequences.
Before even considering the cost of fines and litigation, the HSE estimates that it can cost an organisation in excess of £20,000 just to investigate a single physical assault. It can cost a lot less to prevent one.
If an incident does occur, the courts will take the resources available to an organisation into consideration – the Sentencing Council guidelines state that a Corporate Manslaughter fine should be up to £20 million. It is no defence for an employer to say that they did not have the time, money or resources to reduce risk. There is the possibility of courts imposing publicity orders which can tarnish reputations, and in the worst cases, prison sentences for senior managers found to be negligent.
Send For Help’s subsidiaries – Skyguard and Guardian24 helps fulfil employer’s Duty of Care to their staff. It’s not just about protecting lone workers and employees at risk. It’s about helping to protect employers from potential ruinous litigation. What’s more, it’s proven to help increase morale and staff confidence knowing that if they need assistance fast, there are highly trained professionals available 24 hours a day to help assist in any emergency.
We are a service driven organisation that prides itself on our proven ability to handle real life emergencies, including those deemed to be of the highest risk within the UK – individuals under Police protection.
Millions of pounds of investment in developing bespoke software, infrastructure and devices have enabled us to offer a service that really works. It’s proven, it’s out there helping to protect real people every day in a host of challenging and diverse situations.
These are only the general laws affecting organisations – in addition, there are whole host of supplementary Health and Safety regulations which apply to specific industries, workplace environments and types of job activity.