NHS Protect has this week announced that lack of funding and resources are the main barriers to improving the safety of their lone workers. In a questionnaire about protection levels, 62% of NHS employers said that they didn’t have the money or resources to make any improvements in the near future.
An alternative article from Nursing Protect highlighted that with nearly one quarter of lone workers in the mental health sector having been assaulted, the need for an increase in protection is vital. The survey suggested that there was a correlation between those using paid for lone worker safety devices and a lower assault rate on staff.
In light of the increasing mobility of NHS workers and the provision of more services out in the community, NHS Protect wanted to find out how well protected lone workers are. The results indicated that the levels of protection provided for lone workers vary
Provisional annual data for work-related fatal accidents in Great Britain’s workplaces shows small change from previous years, sustaining a long term trend that has seen the rate of fatalities more than halve over the last 20 years.
Data released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reveals 142 workers were fatally injured at work between April 2014 and March 2015 (a rate of 0.46 fatalities per 100,000 workers). This compares to last year’s positively low figure of 136 (0.45 fatalities per 100,000 workers). Fatal injuries at work are thankfully rare events and as a consequence, the annual figures are subject to chance variation.
The statistics again confirm that the UK is one of the safest places to work in Europe, having one of the lowest rates of fatal injuries to workers in leading industrial nations.
However, HSE’s Chair Judith Hackitt points out that every death is a tragedy: ‘It is disappointing last year’s
According to a recent survey carried out by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), almost half of community nurses have been victims of abuse within the last two years. 11% of those have faced physical abuse or assault as well as verbal abuse.
With around 68,595 community nurses in the UK, this equates to a staggering 32,640 subjected to abuse. Unless an appropriate solution is sought, the number will increase in accordance to the rising number of lone working nurses.
Reacting to findings of the survey, RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary, Dr Peter Carter commented: ‘It is horrifying to hear of a worsening situation, and one where people who go to work each day to care for people end up feeling alone, afraid and under attack instead. It is hard to give the best care when you go to work in fear – and we really need all employers to take the safety of their staff seriously.’
Dr Carter went on to say: ‘Sadly, it seems
It is often questioned whether or not it is safe to work alone when working with the public, especially in roles that require you to enforce rules.
A recent incident at Clapham Junction station saw a lone working member of staff assaulted when performing his duties. The victim, who works on the platform at the over ground station requested that the attacker did not board the train with his bicycle during rush hour, unless he was prepared to travel in the last carriage. After the situation escalated, the attacker subsequently became aggressive, punching the rail worker in the face. Detective constable Denis Mahoney said: “The victim sustained several cuts, including one above his eye which required stitches”.
This poses the question as to whether or not lone working is suitable when the risk of assault or attack is relatively high. According to a 2015 investigation by the BBC, there has been a 44% rise in assaults on
A report by the UK commission for Employment and skills (UKCES) warns that the demand for staff will far outstrip availability in both the NHS and social care over the next few years. According to the report, progression bottlenecks could limit the supply of appropriately skilled workers whilst demand in both sectors continues to grow.
This places enormous pressure on current health and social care workers, forcing them to work long hours to cope with workload. Subsequently, errors could be made while performing day to day duties, putting lone workers at greater risk of injury or attack. Could the overriding pressure on such workers be jeopardizing their safety?
By 2022, the health and social care sector needs to train and recruit over 2 million more workers to satisfy demand. 2.1 million (67%) of these are needed to replace workers leaving existing roles. The research also highlights that a larger than average proportion of workers in the sector are aged between 50 to