Does your business have people that regularly work alone? If so, are they potentially at more risk than if they didn’t work alone? If the answer is yes then have you considered what extra steps you may need to apply to keep them safe?
This month I have been reading about a building firm who have been prosecuted after a worker fell inside an empty water storage tank. The man had been working alone and was found dead in the tank by a co-worker who went to find him.
The court heard that he had been working above the tank to construct a brick manhole chamber over the tank. He fell 15 metres to the bottom of the tank. The HSE investigation found the Director had visited the site the day before the incident and saw the men were exposed to a risk of falling but took no action to put safety measures in place.
The business, Galton Civil Engineering Ltd, was ordered to pay £25k and the director received personal fines of £30k.
I was recently discussing a lone working issue with one of our clients; they have a member of staff who regularly visits a remote warehouse used as an archive. This worker would usually work alone and often has to work at height to retrieve boxes from the top shelves and my question focused on what would they be able to do to help him if he had an accident. The clear answer was “not a lot” but they were concerned with what the expense would be to put in a system that could work for them. However, as I explained, not all systems have to cost money or at least doesn’t have to be expensive; clearly doing nothing really shouldn’t be an option as the above case shows.
Not all lone working will put employees at extra risk but it is incumbent on an employer to explore its risks through a well thought out risk assessment. If this is something that has got you thinking but you don’t know what to do, then why not contact MESH for advice.