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As the countdown to the festive season gets underway, ensure lone working in your business is subject to risk assessment and that lone workers are not placed at more risk by the nature of their role.lone-worker

Convenience store operator McColl was recently fined £150,000 for failing to protect its staff during a series of store robberies in Merseyside. At the hearing, the court heard that shop staff had raised concerns about the lack of lockable doors into back room areas and the need for CCTV. One manager with concussion, another member of staff was threatened with a knife, and some of the staff said they were so traumatised, they did not feel they could work in a shop again.

In finding the company guilty of the charges, the judge pointed to the “systemic failings both on and before the date of the actual robberies” and “The absence of proper and adequate risk assessments is where things started to go fundamentally wrong”.

Although there are no general restrictions on working alone, Health and Safety legislation requires employers to take care of the health, safety and welfare at work of all employees, as far as reasonably practicable and to assess the health and safety risks to which employees are exposed whilst at work. It’s important to have a clear policy in play, and to make sure that everyone in the company knows, understands and implements it.

A useful guide to lone working is published by the Health and Safety Executive and can be downloaded from their website here.