Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, an employer has a duty to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all its employees. These requirements are applicable to all work situations, including where employees are working alone or outside normal working hours.
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The realities of working alone
Last winter on a large open site, a maintenance crew member was performing his standard weekly safety checks in compliance with the company’s health and safety policy. During his check of perimeter fencing the crew member slipped down an embankment and sprained his ankle. Despite having his mobile phone, weak signal meant that he could not call for help and raise the alarm. When the crew member did not turn up for lunch the other staff checked his schedule and traced his steps to find him lying at the bottom of the embankment.
Though a relatively minor injury, the fact the crew member was not found for three hours resulted in death from hypothermia. This customer of lone worker equipment learnt the hard way about the severity of lone worker risks, even on-site.
What the guide covers
- What is a Lone Worker
- Who are the likely Lone Workers in my organisation
- Why are Lone Workers at greater risk
- What are my responsibilities as an employer
- What should, and can, I be doing to ensure my employees are safe at work