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Celtic Anglian Water

Celtic Anglian Water use StaySafe’s app and wearable tech to keep Lone Workers safe

Celtic Anglian Water (CAW) is a water solutions company who provide treatment services across Ireland. Part of the Anglian Water Group are regarded as one of Ireland’s largest water service operators, CAW employees work across a range of offices and treatment plants across Ireland and the UK. With measures in place to minimise the requirement for lone working, some elements of work still require employees to attend sites alone, CAW launched the StaySafe app to ensure their lone workers are protected even out of hours.

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Three Reasons to Invest in Lone Worker Safety

It is currently estimated that 22% of the working population can be considered lone workers. With increasing pressures on businesses to enhance profits and productivity, and an increase in automation and new technologies, this number continues to grow year on year.

While lone working allows organisations to operate in a more efficient manner, it brings with it a new set of health and safety challenges. Lone workers are more vulnerable to the risks of violence, abuse, accident and injury since any risks they face, are faced alone.

But should organisations be taking extra care when protecting their lone working staff? This guide outlines three business reasons why you should take lone worker safety seriously; legal, moral and financial.

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In the News: Lone worker asphyxiation

Chelsea and Westminster NHS Trust and Imperial College London, have been fined following the death of a lone worker.

In October 2011, Damian Bowen was asphyxiated whilst decanting liquid nitrogen, used to freeze blood samples, in a London laboratory.

An investigation into the incident by the HSE, found that the local exhaust ventilation provided to extract dangerous substances, had been switched off. When released into the air, the liquid nitrogen expanded as a gas, replacing the oxygen in the room and creating a deadly atmosphere.

Working with hazardous substances

Working with hazardous substances could cause a number of health issues if not handled correctly. From burns and inflammation, to cancers, respiratory problems and even death.

Legally, procedures and control measures must be put in place for employees handling or working near hazardous substances. In this case, the ventilation system would have been a sufficient way to prevent harm, and Bowen would not have died.

The failure to implement a system that prevented the extraction from being switched off, a proper system of maintaining the equipment and clear arrangements from preventing lone working with liquid nitrogen, demonstrated a clear breach of health and safety legislation.

The outcome

Both Chelsea & Westminster NHS Trust and Imperial College London, pleaded guilty of breaching Section 3 (1) and Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

The building in which the incident occurred, belonged to Chelsea & Westminster NHS Trust, who were fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £23,069.19.

However, the room was rented by Imperial College London who owned the liquid nitrogen store. They were fined £70,000 with costs of £23,069.19.

Lessons learnt

The death of lone worker Damian Bowen, was an entirely preventable incident. When working with hazardous substances, employers must ensure that not only are procedures in place to prevent harm, but they are always put into practice and regularly checked.

If working alone with hazardous substances, a thorough risk assessment should determine whether it is safe to do so. In this case, the HSE inspector involved concluded that lone working should not have been allowed.

If lone working is determined to be safe in other circumstances, additional safety measures must be put in place to ensure they are at no more risk than employees working alongside colleagues.

One effective way of doing so, is to ensure every lone worker has a way to signal for help in an emergency, even if they are unable to physically do so themselves.

With StaySafe, missed check-in and man-down alerts ensure someone is alerted as soon as possible, even if an employee in knocked unconscious. This is incredibly important for those working with hazardous substances where an accident would require immediate medical attention.

The hidden costs of poor health & safety

When discussing the costs associated with poor workplace health and safety, direct costs such as fines and legal costs tend to take centre stage. While fines given to a business following a safety failing are designed to have a significant impact on the business, there are a multitude of ‘hidden costs’ that many forget to consider. Yet these hidden costs can also have a significant, and in many cases, ongoing financial impact on the business.

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Clinton Devon Estates

Clinton Devon Estates is a rural estate comprising 10,000 hectares across East and North Devon and in addition to farming and forestry, operates a range of rural businesses and a portfolio of residential and commercial property.

The company’s lone workers are required to perform off-site duties, which range from independent site visits to using heavy machinery and working at height. Workers are also at risk when travelling between locations (as driving is reportedly the largest killer in the world) whilst staff who are obligated to enter tenant’s houses could be at risk of verbal or physical assault.

Being based in the rural countryside also poses its own safety challenges, due to limited data connection and signal.

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Lone Worker Monitoring Service

Lone worker monitoring

Lone worker monitoring refers to the practice of monitoring the safety of employees who work alone or out of sight and sound of colleagues.

There are a number of systems that can be used to monitor work alone employees, many of which will use a method of check-in, and in some cases, location tracking and emergency alerts.

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Staying safe while working alone during the holiday season

For many, the holiday season means long periods of leisure and time spent in the home surrounded by family and friends. But for some, work continues as usual through these periods. However, we do not always consider that health and safety risks around the holiday season not only change but are likely to become more prevalent and heightened due to bad weather conditions (even in summer) and human risk.

So what are the increased hazards and what can we do to stay safe over the holiday period?

Click below to read on…

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We Are Beams

We Are Beams (Beams) is a UK charity working to support the disabled children, young people and their families across Kent.

As part of their Direct Payment Support Service, Beams is commissioned by the local authority to help families best use the available funding to meet their individual circumstances and needs. The service is provided by a team of lone workers who visit clients at their homes to offer support and advice. Travelling by country roads and working behind closed doors, Direct Payment Case Workers are exposed to both environmental and people risk.

“Dealing with finances can be overwhelming at the best of times. Many of our families employ support workers directly, adding another layer of responsibility or they need to find alternative services which meet their child’s needs to ensure they spend funding in the best way. Lone working allows us as a charity to support as many families in the community as possible to take the stress out of the process. We understand that lone working does come with a set of risks and we want our employees to feel safe and secure as they do so.” – Karen Dorling, Direct Payment Service Manager.

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Turner and Townsend use StaySafe to check-in with staff and monitor their safety out of hours

Turner and Townsend is a construction and project management consultancy, whose lone workers provide a range of services to organisations across the UK. Read more

Business Manukau use StaySafe to monitor the safety of crime prevention managers

Business Manukau is a non-profit organisation, providing services to businesses in the city of Manukau, New Zealand, with two main objectives; making Manukau safer for all, and promoting the city as the best place to shop, work, invest and play in Auckland.

In order to achieve their first objective, a number of crime prevention managers regularly patrol the streets of Manukau, dealing with shoplifters, beggars, buskers and persons displaying antisocial behaviour. The crime prevention managers work alone and often carry out patrols throughout the night. Read more