Article on lone worker protection as featured in Professional Security Magazine
One in five of the UK workforce is now considered a lone worker. Numbers have risen steeply in recent years as self-employment and flexible working – not to mention corporate belt-tightening – has redefined the shape of work, writes Tom Morton, pictured, CEO, Safe Shores Monitoring.
Employers who might not traditionally have considered their employees as lone workers have to think again. Not least because their duty of care to people who are working on their own is enshrined in law. Employers are responsible for the health, safety and welfare at work of all their workers – including any contractors or self-employed people doing work for them. For employers in construction, telecommunications and social care the rules are clear and the need to ensure the safety of their employees is well known.
But increasingly, there are people working alone in shops or retail warehouses, people who are in the office but alone during unsocial hours, people who work from home and from the home of others, and charity volunteers who are not working under direct supervision. Even politicians, such as the tragic Jo Cox MP, are often lone workers.
The Health and Safety at Work Act and Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations set out employers’ responsibilities, which involves assessment of risk. Sometimes that risk will include threat of mishap, accident or even violence. Increasingly, technology designed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of lone workers, enabled by mobile connectivity, motion sensors and geolocation makes emergency response highly effective and meeting employers’ duty of care easier.
Most people come home safe from work and facing dangerous circumstances on the job is rare, but incidents do occur. Throughout Safe Shores Monitoring’s 20 years of providing protecting for lone workers, we have helped to successfully manage extreme situations.
In 2013, our alarm receiving centre (ARC) responded to two simultaneous calls from a housing association employee and a court bailiff. Both were using our SOLO lone worker services. The bailiff and the housing officer had been shot by a tenant whom they were attempting to evict. Armed police and ambulance crews were dispatched to the incident within two minutes. In cases such as these, speed is of the essence. Both victims were injured but not fatally. Police recovered a number of firearms and ammunition rounds from the shooter’s home, which suggests the situation could have escalated without fast intervention.
Employers should be doing their utmost to provide a working environment for their employees that is as safe as possible. Not only is it required by law, it is a moral imperative. Now more than ever, employers need to raise their awareness of the risks the people they employ face. Luckily the technology that can deliver fast response as well as a feeling of certainty they are safe is available to make sure everyone gets home after work.
About Safe Shores Monitoring
Safe Shores Monitoring delivers location-based safety for over 150 customers. The company’s Alarm Receiving Centre, ARC24, is based in Dunoon. Archangel, Safe Shores Monitoring’s cloud-based platform, has Secured By Design accreditation, as a police preferred specification. Visit http://safeshoresmonitoring.co.uk.