The turning of the year is often a time for making positive changes. Although it may not immediately spring to mind, improving the safety of lone workers should feature highly on every employer’s list of resolutions.
Working alone is perfectly legal and in fact part and parcel of many occupations, encountered by most employees at some point during their career. If the appropriate precautions and procedures are put in place this can often be carried out safely with no issue. However, lone working does come at a greater risk if problems do arise, these can not only be more dangerous if faced alone, but getting help can also be more challenging.
Risks to Lone Workers
Slips, trips and falls are a common danger to workers, causing around a third of all non-fatal injuries to employees reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in 2016/17. It’s easy to see why this poses such an issue for lone working employees in
The British Transport Police, who are responsible for the safety and security of the public on our railways, state that using trains is the safest form of travel in Britain. It’s how nearly 10% of us commute to and from work.
However, reported sexual offences on trains have more than doubled in the last five years according to statistics obtained by a recent Freedom of Information request.
British Transport Police report that 1,448 offences were reported in 2016-17, up from 650 in 2012-2013. The statistics, which covers the national rail network and London’s Underground system shows the majority of the incidents were sexual assaults on females aged 13 and above.
The report is consistent with data released by the BTP last year which saw “violence against the person” incidents had increased by 12.5 per cent year-on-year. In seven cases, the victim was killed.
The rise in reported assaults, particularly sexual offences doesn’t come as a surprise to some, citing it’s possibly a better awareness on how to report offences among
“Work’s Christmas party was last night. Great laugh. Always good to let your hair down at this time of year. Probably had a few too many drinks and now regretting it this morning. I’m on the early shift… I’ll never learn.
“Still, I’ve had a few hours kip, made myself a strong coffee and freshened up with a shower. I feel fine except for this hangover. Stuck in traffic doesn’t help.
“There seems to be a hold-up further down the road. What’s that? Looks like the sign says ‘Police Drink Drive Checkpoint’. Not sure what’s the point of that in the morning. They want to be out in the evening catching those who stupidly drink drive and endanger all of us.
“Now what? They’re pulling me over? Now I’m going to be late for work. Good Morning Officer. What’s up? Breathalyse me? I had a few bevvies last night but I’m fine now.
“I’m sorry, there must be some mistake. Your breathalyser must be faulty. Arrest me
As temperatures in the UK plummet to below freezing, experts are suggesting this current cold snap may be a sign of things to come, with some predicting the worst winter in over 5 years.
Public Health England have issued a warning to prepare for a long spell of cold and advising those at risk to take precautions. In the workplace colder weather can have an adverse effect on employees, not only their productivity but it can also make carrying out some roles more hazardous.
What does the law say?
You may be surprised to hear that legally there is no minimum or maximum temperature in the workplace that employers must stick to, only a number of guidelines.
Regulation 7, under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 states: “During working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable” and “provide reasonable comfort without the need for special clothing.”
Guidance on working temperature varies depending on the nature of the environment, with a suggested minimum temperature of 16 degrees. For employees doing physical work this is lowered
Abuse experienced by shopworkers has risen by a quarter in the past year according to a survey conducted by retail union Usdaw, the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers.
In 2016 around two thirds of those working in shops were verbally abused, with 40% claiming that they had been threatened whilst at work, an increase of 38% on the previous 12 months.
Some of the incidents reported by participants range from verbal abuse dished out by disgruntled customers, to physical assaults and threatening behaviour involving the use of weapons. In one example, a frozen gammon was thrown at a store employee by an irate member of the public. Other cases include threats of physical violence being made against staff, with some even being followed home after work.
Shoplifting and refusal to sell age restricted goods are often flashpoints, although workers are also commonly targeted when they are most vulnerable for example when working alone, handling money, taking deliveries or locking up.
Combining this with recent news that crime in England and Wales is rising year on year, against a