Last updated: 13.03.13

Protection and training for lone workers 'essential'

Employers must ensure they have solid health and safety measures in place for lone workers in order to protect staff against life-threatening accidents in the workplace.The British Security Industry Association's (BSIA's) Lone Worker Forum announced this is crucial for preventing potential corporate manslaughter cases, after data published earlier this year by law firm Pinsent Masons revealed the number of such incidents rose to 63 in 2012, compared to 45 in 2011.In light of these findings, the BSIA stated making sure employees can work safely either alone or without direct supervision should be integral to every business' health and safety training strategy.Patrick Dealtry, chairman of the body's Lone Worker Forum, said lone working can be intimidating and often dangerous, so ensuring staff protection in this sense involves a twofold approach that both safeguards and offers reassurance to all parties."Providing vulnerable employees with a mechanism to call for help if they feel threatened should be a key element of a company's health and safety policy," he added.According to the BSIA, more than six million people in the UK currently work either in isolation or without direct supervision and they can often be found in places where they are potentially at risk.Mr Dealtry continued: "Any business employing lone workers should take heed of this latest research and ensure that they have robust solutions in place, both to protect lone workers and to reduce the risk of prosecution should an incident occur."Virtual College is one training provider they could turn to for assistance, as the e-learning company offers online education in dealing with lone workers.For £15 plus VAT, firms are able to introduce their staff to Personal Safety for Lone Workers, a module that teaches learners about what the style of working is and why it is worth finding out about, what the responsibilities of the employer are in managing lone workers, the basic process of assessing people's roles and some of the main questions employees can ask themselves to evaluate potential risks.