Personal safety devices and mobile phone software applications for lone working professionals from just £6 per month
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 lone workers have to work alone in conditions that expose them to personal danger from work-related violence or verbal abuse, accidents, illness or injury. The Office of National Statistics estimates that there are nearly 6 million lone workers in the UK. Some estimates put this at as many as 8 million.
The vulnerability of lone workers was highlighted following the disappearance of Suzy Lamplugh, the estate agent, who disappeared after attending an appointment alone. Although an extreme case, it’s estimated that over 160 attacks take place on lone workers every day!
As an employer, you have a legal and moral Duty of Care to your employees to protect them from unnecessary risk. If one of your employees suffers harm at work as a consequence of doing their job, you could end up in court. And if it can be proven that the systems you employ aren’t up to the job of protecting your employees, you may be in breach of numerous pieces of Health and Safety legislation. This could have disastrous consequences.
What’s the cost to the business?
The Sentencing Council guidelines state that a Corporate Manslaughter fine should be at least £500,000. But 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, lower staff morale and in the worst cases, prison sentences for senior managers found to be negligent. Before even considering the cost of fines, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimates that it can cost between £17,000 and £19,000 on average just to investigate a physical assault.