What happens if I don’t follow lone worker legislation?
Failure to adhere to lone working guidelines can result in fines for both your business and individuals. For extreme breaches of lone worker policy, you could even be sent to prison.
Legal responsibility to lone workers
While occupational health and safety law differs across countries and regions, the core principle remains the same; to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all employees as far as is reasonably possible.
This often includes carrying out risk assessments to identify risks, taking appropriate steps to reduce them and preparing staff to deal with any remaining risks that cannot be controlled.
A safe working environment should always be provided and where appropriate additional training, equipment and procedures should be implemented.
The failure to comply to legislation is likely to result in legal action which could cost the business in fines, resources and time, with cases taking months or even years to complete. In some cases, the individual employer could also face prosecution and imprisonment if they are found to be at fault.
Moral responsibility to lone workers
The employer also holds a moral responsibility to protect their employees. Unsafe working conditions could leave workers, as well as their friends and family, feeling uncomfortable and frightened.
Low morale and higher levels of stress are likely to result in lower levels of productivity and a rise in employee sick leave. A CIPD survey revealed that stress and mental health were the most common causes for long-term absence. With millions of working days being lost worldwide to work-related illness and injury each year, the performance of the overall organisation will also be harmed.
If the work environment is particularly stressful, a company may also notice a high turnover of staff. A 2004 survey by CIPD found that 71% of firms surveyed agreed that ‘turnover has a negative effect on organisational performance’. Not only are there high costs involved in turnover, but extra time and resources are spent on training and transitioning in new employees.
The financial costs for not following lone working procedure
As well as a reduction in productivity, there are a large number of financial costs involved in dealing with workplace accidents.
Here are just some of the things which employers may need to pay for if and when accidents occur:
- Work related sickness/injuries
- Replacing Staff
- Investigating an accident
- Loss of business reputation – in some cases the impact on a business’ reputation may be the biggest impact
- Loss of contracts/clients
- Damage to property due to accidents