Industries tighten up on Lone Worker Protection

Wed 21 Oct, 2009

Amid indications that sentencing for the new Corporate Manslaughter Act is likely to become even more stringent, legal experts have issued a warning to senior managers in the Waste Management industry about the implications of not taking lone worker protection seriously.

Sentence guideline consultation reviews have suggested that the penalties for organisations in breach of their duty of care responsibility could face harsher punishment than first thought. Under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, organisations are now likely to face fines of up to five per cent of their annual turnover, rather than as a percentage of profit as it stands at present. Operating managers and senior executives can also serve jail time if they are deemed to be showing inadequate duty of care to employees.

Chris Green, regulatory department partner at Top 60 law firm Weightmans, voiced his concern that leading waste management officials are not sufficiently aware of the consequences of failing to provide lone worker protection for their employees. Green states that “Many managers and directors in this industry seem to think that they’ll be untouched by the Corporate Manslaughter Act but the truth is that they could still be held personally responsible for safety offences even if an employee is not injured or killed during an accident in the workplace, and even if they are not grossly negligent then they could still face imprisonment or a hefty fine.”

Green is justified when the latest statistics from the Health & Safety Executive are considered. Figures show that the number of fatal accidents in the Waste Management Sector is over ten times the national average. These statistics have provoked an investigation into major incidents which has revealed that the nature of accidents are often related to common risks, and that without the implementation of lone worker solutions senior management can be held fully accountable.

Commenting on the figures released by the Health and Safety Executive, Tom Morton, CEO of Argyll, said: “I would urge senior figures in the Waste Management Sector to consider their duty of care and employ lone worker solutions, not only for the protection of their employees but to mitigate reputational damage and avoid putting the future of their organisation in jeopardy. I strongly urge employers of all lone workers to entrust their duty of care to those reputable providers operating to the standards now recognized by both industry and the police” Argyll’s new Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC), the nerve centre of the company’s operations, is operational 24/7 and has been designed to provide a guaranteed and police validated level of response to any Lone Worker assistance request and in accordance with new British Standard BS8484 recently adopted by the UK security industry.