Webinar: How to ensure the safety of lone remote and mobile workers

Peninsula Team

April 04 2014

Each week, Peninsula Business Services invite business owners, finance directors and senior management to take advantage of our national program of FREE Employment Law and Health & Safety Webinars. [avatar user="chadwicka" size="thumbnail" align="left" link="https://www.peninsulagrouplimited.com/blog/author/chadwicka/"] The safety of your staff is obviously highly important and companies spend lots of time, effort and money to make sure that their offices are up to the latest regulations. Yet how do you ensure an employee who isn't based in your office is safe? If you would like any further information or advice on ensuring the safety of lone remote and mobile workers then please call our advice service on 0844 892 2772 or contact us online.
Click Here for the Video Transcript:
Welcome everybody, hello welcome to today's webinar, it is Monday the 10th of February, 2014. Today's webinar is about home workers, lone workers, mobile workers, and remote workers. My name is Amanda Chadwick I am senior speaker at Peninsula Business Services Limited, and employment law and health and safety consultancy the largest one in Europe, it is based in Manchester, family run, still helping round about just under 28,000 companies throughout the UK. Whether you are small or large with every day employment law and health and safety. So today we talk about home, lone, and remote workers. So we are seeing more and more home, lone, and remote workers, mobile workers and it is becoming more and more common and the reason is because of this, are the benefits, okay? The benefits of working from home we have got terrible traffic, congestion, road works, bad weather so there is lots of benefits of working at home. It is the travel, it is the time management, and I can honestly say from my personal experience I get loads more work done when I am at home. Children are at school, I have got quiet time I just concentrate and I get tons of work done. I also manage my time so that if I'm doing any research, if I am doing any work I can leave it as well when people have gone to bed so that is me working at home. I think it is absolutely brilliant when you are running a family but a lot of people would do it because they can spend time without being interrupted on certain projects. I know my sister in law she is a planner, and she is a planner for a cable company and she works from home and she gets lots and lots of work done at home because people aren't interrupting her again she has got focus 100% on the time she has allotted to the time management and the planning. Also what we have now seen as well within the last few years is I live in a very rural area, but I can have access to BT Fiber, some amazing technology work connections so I can actually run webinars from home if I want to. So what we have got is we have got work connections, we have got mobiles, and even if you go for coffee down the road now there is Wi-Fi available, so people can work in lots of different places because technology has enabled the work connection and communication. And we have also got more and more people especially with the spring legislation that has come in with everybody having the rights, not automatically got the right but the rights to request flexible working. More and more people are saying I need flexible working and it will enable me to drop the children off at school work solidly all day pick them up at school and then work again once they are home and because employers are seeing this is a really good flexible working pattern, and that they have got good happy employees they are actually letting them do it. So what you need to do is you need to consider practical issues for home workers especially. You need to look at appropriate communication, management of employees and motivate because if I am working at home I am missing bits out, I could become demotivated I could feel like I am not part of the team anymore, I could feel like things are happening within the workplace that you are not telling me about. So we have got to look and make sure people when they are working at home, they do get the appropriate communication, that they do get kept in the loop.  That we make sure that they are getting memos, they are getting briefs, and that you are managing the employees and that they also feel motivated and connected to the office. Remember just because somebody is a home worker that you don't just think oh I haven't got any health and safety requirements. You actually have a health and safety legal duty to protect and monitor so we're going to talk about that in a moment. There is a legal issues as well for the employment contracts. This is for home workers okay? So legal issues for homeworkers we are going to talk about later on remote workers, mobile workers, and lone workers. The legal issues for employment contracts would see the fact that people get to change the terms and conditions. Say for example I worked from the office at the moment I put in a request to work from home, make sure it is all put in writing, you respond in writing but then what happens is a lot of employees forget to change the terms and conditions and make them relevant for their new working conditions. So remember that. Also who is responsible for buying of the equipment? And remember just because somebody started working from home doesn't mean to say they are self-employed. A home worker is not a self-employed person. And in tax terms, your accountant might say oh yes that person might be self-employed, but in employment law terms is not self-employed. We would ask you questions like the worker relationship that you have got with them we would ask them, do they work for other people.  So, just because you are making somebody work from home or they have requested it doesn't mean to say that they are self-employed so be very careful of that. So health and safety laws are still applicable to home workers just as you would for your other employees. You have got to do what is reasonably practical to ensure the health and safety of your workforce whilst at work and others that might be affected by the work activity. And this includes a home worker. A typical home worker has key health and safety issues which are very similar to your office environment. And we are going to cover at the end of this, risk assessments and etc. I'm just going to go through, some top sort of things you need to look out for so things that you need to look out for key health and safety issues for homework is are of their workstation, how are they working? Is it on their lap? Do they have a desk? The electrical testing of equipment that you are using if you are providing a laptop. It is it PAC [SP] tested? To make sure they are aware of it fraying wires, making sure that they are having breaks as well and that you are managing their hours. Remember as I always say to you that the biggest complaint in tribunal is a working time regulations. This does involve full breaks, it involves working hours, and holidays as well. And also making sure that they have got the right chair too. So, Before commencing working from home so I put in a proposal, you have accepted okay this is something that I would consider you working from home, I am allowing you more quality time you want to monitor that okay? You are making a commitment so you might have a trial period, but you want to make sure you monitor it, that you are making sure that the work is still being completed on time. So before commencing work from home, carry out an initial assessment at their proposed working area. Have a look at the working area you might get your health and safety person, your competent person to pop in, but have an initial assessment of that proposed working area. Determine the specific hazards and risks posed to each individual home worker. So you need to make sure that the place is full of hazards and you need to make sure they are not interrupted with lots of dogs barking, lots of interruptions at home and have a look at the risks that are posed, and they are very much like the office as I said. And then if you would agree to home working and the situation is acceptable to you, remember to always have something in place that is a reminder  system that says to you that we do periodic testing, and that you might consider that as a recommendation from health and safety that you do that annually, okay? A structured discussion should be had with their manager which is you, and take action where issues are identified. So if they say, yeah we'll have wires hanging, take action where that is. So you've got to do risk assessments here. You keep a note in a meeting and discussion and what you are going to do, is you are going to delegate responsibility for health and safety to them. so you are going to put all of the ground rules in place like wires, chairs etc. But what you going to do is get them to sign to say they understand, that this structured discussion, they understand that you have completed risk assessments, they understand what issues you have identified as they understand what their responsibility is and you delegate that to them. Make sure that you check the working conditions continue to meet the legal standards and you might have I think in your handbook some terms and conditions that say if they move house they have to let you know. Because they could move to a different property that is a bit more dangerous so make sure that you check that the working conditions continue to meet the legal standards. Terms and conditions of moving house and you make sure you put that in the employee handbook as well yep? So, home workers and health and safety well the proposed equipment the chair, the desk,  the keyboard etc. Make sure it is ergonomically sound for that particular worker. The display screen equipment remember they are covered under health and safety here. The use of display screen equipment and a self-assessment questionnaire that needs to be completed by the employee in written form, and it may be helpful in ensuring the workstation is right for them and it will present no physical hazards. So that is what should be on the written form that they are saying back the workstation is right, the chair is the right size, and there is no physical hazards, and what you are doing is you are delegating again responsibility and authority. The assessor should check that the surrounding areas are free from hazards, that could cause slips trips and falls. What about trailing power supplies here, what about computer cables and provide cable covers or tape down. So, things to think about with homeworkers and health and safety, and just to home workers in general is just to check the terms and conditions okay? I am going from an office based environment, to working from home. My statement of main terms needs it to change to change my place of work, and maybe my hours of works and breaks OK? So make sure you do update that, and change it. Don't discriminate if people are asking for homework and don't pick and choose, make sure that you are not discriminating in any form or way OK? And make sure you are managing your staff when they are working at home, make sure they are ringing in and they are logging on you might say to them that we can see what time you log on you might have a clock in sort of process, you might say if you turn your phone on at this time. So make sure you know what their working hours are, you are managing it correctly. Make sure you keep them motivated and keep in contact. You might want them to ring in first thing in the morning, and when they are checking off at night. And make sure they have got access to training and updates as well, because it is quite easily missed when somebody is working at home you forget to send them out. Any training or updates make sure they are included in this. With the employee handbook as well, you are going to have updates coming through so your people working from home should be included in the employee updates as well, so make sure that they are.  Not everybody has access to the Internet when they are working from home. Keep informed of social events and vacancies because you don't want to exclude them they might say I was looking, I wanted that job but make sure they are kept informed of social events and vacancies. And also what you might want to do is when somebody has decided to work from home and you have agreed to it is check that their house insurance is included and they are covered. Make sure as well, when you work at home and I know I am a little bit of a culprit of this, I don't exceed my working hours, but what I might do if I have got a home work day, is I log on before the children go to school and check my emails do some work then I do work I stop working at about 9:30, and then what I do is I continued to work all day. I generally work through my lunch and then what I do is I pick the children up from school, get them all sorted and generally work in the evening. But there is working time regulations here, what you could do if you have got some big work coming on and you have got to have your workload is very easy when you work at home to continue working. Because you want everything out of the way and what I do tend to find myself doing is doing lots of research, compiling reports etc. And I might find myself sat there at 1 o'clock in the morning. But I make the time back up again. Some people aren't spot on with time management and will exceed the working time regulations. What you might want to do is remind people with a policy in a handbook if they are homeworkers that they shouldn't be sending emails at 2 o'clock in the morning, they  have got to have a proper working day just like the rest of us and make sure that they are not breaching the working time regulations unless they have opted out. But again, management of their working hours for sure OK? So now, data protection and storage policy. Making sure that if I am working from home and I have got client information particular information that is sensitive, there is data protection that you have got eight data protection policy for me and how I store that. And how I also get rid of documents that might be confidential. I might just throw them in my ordinary rubbish how about providing a shredder for those people, and making sure you have a policy to say if you are working from home we expect you to shred all personal documentation, company documentation. if you are a home worker we will provide you to shredder which is pennies nowadays but again making sure that you have a policy saying that they have to shred confidential documents. So, homeworkers what about if they are traveling to attend the meeting? So I am a home worker, but I am traveling to attend a meeting. You will get somebody saying well, can I claim expenses for that? I would suggest prior to commencing home working is that you pre-agree what they can claim. You might consider that part of their job if they have to travel to the office, so you need to have something that is pre-agreed and written in your handbook. Remember circumstances may change, so you're going to have to have written rules that allow you some flexibility, if your business requires them to be placed back in work. So make sure your policies highlight that, and the flexibility and mobility clause that you may have it says you may be a home worker, but should the business change, we may have the right to bring you back into the office again. So the cost factor of this, when we look at somebody working during the day I know for sure for me, that I have a heating on during the day if I'm working from home, I'm using my Wi-Fi there is a cost factor for working at home that they don't get in the office. So we have got Wi-Fi, heating, water etc. So in theory such payments are taxable that is if you are going to pay them for it and that should be declared but in practice the HMRC may allow a dispensation of up to approximately 300 pounds per year on expenses incurred for work and related purposes that includes heating, light, heating water, business phone calls. That may be increased by home insurance as well. The expenses must be reasonable, and may not include the cost of alterations to the premises or purchase of furniture, but if there is no payments made by you, the worker could claim the costs against their tax liability. I know that with myself, I can claim my Wi-Fi backer works so I put that on my expenses every month and I get something like I don't know 75% of its back I am not sure. But I get it back. But I am not sure, you have got to remember that it is taxable. So then we come to lone, mobile and remote workers. A couple of years ago we wrote, and we have to update it every year, but the initial policy we had to write was a company that places people in the northern Pole. And you can imagine what that is alone, and a remote worker, is also a mobile worker because they use a certain types of vehicles out there. And we had to bring in a specialist person from the Royal Marines to highlight things that we might overlook. Although we are absolute experts at employment law, and health and safety, it is always handy to have an expert who is used to working in those conditions help us look out for things that we might miss with our risk assessments for a lone worker. And certainly in the northern pole we brought in an expert in to help us. Again when we write lone worker, remote worker policies for people that may be deep sea dive or work on oil rigs and simple things I know it sounds a bit stupid, but when you are working on a rig not to enter outside the rig, or put things outside when it is high winds, because you can get blown off the rig. So making sure that you have got policies and things like that you wouldn't have actually thought about. So people who work alone, what we call lone, mobile or remote workers,  are people who work alone without direct or close supervision. They are lower workers and the vast majority work activities.  Lone working, remember this, it is not illegal to work alone but mobile workers are maybe drivers, surveyors, service engineers, people that check your meter readings, care workers, domiciliary care and the like who work away from their employer space and are clearly identifiable and recognized as lone workers. However it is important to acknowledge that loan workers may work at a fixed workplace. It might be for example a big power plant and they might work in isolated parts of the plant or the factory. They might be maintenance workers who go all over the site or gardeners that work within, for example near me, Bodowitten Gardens, who are all over the place working on the site they are at work but you can't actually see them. And then we have got on call workers, these are people that are working overtime outside of normal hours or opening and closing the work premises. If the burglar alarm goes off, who did the police ring? My number is the one and I turn up, I am an on call worker. For sure here we have got to have a proper policy for on-call workers and we have got to consider the implications of the working time regulations here as well. Lone workers are often at risk because of the nature and location of the work, you have got to remember that. So we have some examples here of which you might not have considered, where we would consider vulnerable workers, so a violent attack to a worker who is open or closing a shop premises, or warehouse where the attacker is intent on theft. So we look at betting shops here, banks, casinos for example that have lots of money. Where it might be beneficial to me if I was a burglar to steal from you so it might be, I don't know, a big massive warehouse such as Costco. Or Macro, where people are locking up and their responsibility to make sure that the building is safe people will be watching them and the attacker is intent on theft. Violent attacks, because they work with vulnerable people or in an area of social deprivation and what you also see is like in doctor's surgeries or a job center and hospitals, where people getting viciously attacked because people are angry about their situation and take it out on the person that's working there. So we might want to have a policy for that but also signs up to say that we do not accept this behavior. So a violent attack because they work with vulnerable people, or an area of social deprivation. It might also be a housing officer that is going out to places to visit clients. I know my brother is a support housing worker, and a social worker, he goes out into people's homes and he actually specializes in people that are vulnerable, people that have come out of prison. But actually might have mental health problems and that might go nuts because of something just be reasonable that upset them. So we need to have provisions in place for these people. The inability to summon assistance, in the event of sudden illness or an accident so heart attack on the motorway, use of machinery. I might be working in the grounds, I might have a heart problem while using the sit on mower. Unfamiliarity with the risks at or about the worksite for  example, or unsafe practices adopted by lone workers free from supervision. And then we have got people that are on the road, mobile workers who might be involved in serious road traffic accidents and also involved in bad weather. You might get to Scotland the snow might be really heavy, might get marooned and then snowed in, when did we have the checking out of that person? When did we do a lone risk assessment? When do we have the ringing in and making sure they phoned in and checking in? Maybe two or three times a day. Especially if they are in an extremely remote and vulnerable area. And then we have got the manual handled tools and equipment, between a van or car and workplace. the manual handling during the delivery of goods for example. And then injuries due to previously unknown health of the lone worker. So we will cover this in the moment, under the health statement, or lack of help or advice in the event of the unexpected, and safety and security. I would also check that your premises that you supply and you put your stuff in, if they are a lone worker have adequate security both for the employee and the valuables that we were talking about earlier on. You should assure you have appropriate policies in place and procedures, and particularly for lone workers at high risks for example young employees and loan workers who carry cash. And how about policies to include what remote workers should do, in the case of emergency. So, remote, mobile and lone workers there when I'm talking. So, with lone, remote, and mobile workers what we want to do is avoid any problems so what we need to do initially, and we talk about induction, we talk about training. Training and the risk involved with the work activity in lone working to make them aware of what the risks are. We need to have proof of the training that we have given them and that we have educated them, and that they are aware of the policies and procedures that we have got in place to protect them. We don't just give it to them we actually train then we get them to sign that they have understood it and that they are now going to use that as part of their job is fiction. We need to establish a system and a routine of communication, some different routines of communication for different jobs. So for example if I'm out today and I am a state agents and I have got five appointments today, I would check the person I am going to see, we would do a safety check I would ring in to say that I was on my way that I had arrived safely at the client had turned up and then I would ring when I left the business as well. And again for the next appointment. So that would be our risk assessment, and that is establishing a system at a routine of communication that is something that I would recommend for any lone, remote, or mobile worker. And make sure that you have got good supervision, that you have a key person that they contact, make sure you have a backup system in place in case that person is ill. You might have to keep in touch as well, and make sure that they have people that they keep in touch with regularly. What you should be doing is identifying potentially violent situations, so implementation of effective control measures which could include the elimination in some scenarios of lone working altogether. So, what we have also got to consider with lone, remote, and mobile workers is their breaks.  Danger, and break arrangements and provisions.  So if I've got a static lone worker, so that means that you've got a building where people are going in and out during the day, but in the evening you only have a handful of staff or maybe one or two members of staff. You have got to consider their breaks here, and you are not breaking the law by saying to somebody because of the business you might have a building in an unsavory area for example. You are not wrong to say to somebody that they can't leave the premises when they take their break. So, and this really needs to be highlighted when you first advertise the job to somebody who applies for it, that if they are working nights that it is in an unsavory area, that there is risk of attack. That you do provide a break area, and refreshment facilities, but if they are a smoker they won't be allowed to go for smoking breaks during their working hours because of the health and safety. And let them know when you advertise the job of the brake arrangements and provisions. But if you are to say to somebody that you can't leave the premises when you take a break, then you need to provide catering equipment for them so they bring their own food in. Also, you might have staggered breaks, that they all take their breaks together for safety. And remember I'm giving you an overview here today, so it is different rules of four different businesses you could see how varied it is by me talking to you. So also providing adequate emergency procedures and that if people are mobile workers and they are using a vehicle is up to them to keep it safe, to make sure it is a road is safe and that you do a spot check and that you have a car policy for upkeep, and that you delegate responsibility and authority again to those people that are using company cars. That you issue a company car but it is their responsibility to make sure that it is safe, that they are making sure that it is serviced it is Mottled regularly, and is up to them to let you know of any problems that they might have. So, again with lone workers and mobile workers, and remote workers if you are actually recording your staff either with CCTV footage, you may have heard me speak about this in the last few webinars, data protection is going to be huge news within the next 24 months for example. If you are recording people through CCTV, for their protection you still have to let them know that they are being recorded because if you don't it is illegal. So you need to put that in the handbook, and that also includes if you have got tracking devices in the vehicle which is a really good idea for remote mobile workers. If you give your remote mobile workers a mobile phone, and it has tracking devices in it, it is not a bad idea to record them for safety purposes. And also to know where they are and what they are up to, but you need to tell them that you are recording them, that you give them a business mobile that you are recording them, and monitoring them. And this is the way of tracking the hours that they do. But you need to let them know that, and that could be through the tracking devices that have, CCTV, and data. What you Might also want to do if you are using remote workers is have a search policy. And what that enables you to do is to go wherever they are working, not at their home, but wherever they are working for you such as, as a domestic care worker, driving your vehicles, carrying your goods that you have the right to search them wherever they are working for you. and I'm giving you an overview here today, so I'm not giving you a full search policy but I am saying this is a very good idea to use and it might be because of drugs, it might be alcohol, it might be smoking, it might be because you think they are picking things up on the journey home with the lorry when they shouldn't be. So a search policy is absolutely credible to use. And then what we've got is the health policy That I mentioned earlier on which is actually crucial for lone workers, home workers, remote workers, and mobile workers and it is simply a statement that says if your medical condition changes, you start taking tablets, you are having counseling or even pregnant, you have to let us know at the earliest stage possible so we can make the health and safety standards necessary for you to do your job so you are delegating responsibility and authority again right at the beginning of employment. Remember what I said earlier on about the change of address policy? Because people's next of kin can change, their home address can change so you might want to mention in the employee handbook a delegation responsibility, to say if your home address changes, your personal details change, your next of kin details change, that you have to let us know, written at the earliest stage. So we've got the keeping in touch policy as well, and then it procedures for the safety of cash. How do they store it? Where do they bank it? And if you are using a safe you might have a policy and procedures on managing the safe and locking up. And then what about a wastage policy to? It was its policy is to protect you against loss of, damage and neglect. And it is things like, losing the shutter keys, damaging vehicles, cars chipped and some bumps, and a wastage policy again it is about growth and saving money for your company. So one of the wastage policies that I would recommend that any business anyway. The car policy which we touched on, a mobile phone policy and the use of, and if you are giving somebody a company car, and you are giving them a company mobile you need to have a use of company mobile whilst driving the car statement as well. And I know it is illegal to use a mobile whilst driving but still you need to have a policy in place to emphasize that and reiterate that to your staff. Personal information, next of kin, address details we have spoken about and then a health questionnaire member when you are recruiting somebody for a mobile job, remote worker, lone worker or home worker that you can't ask anybody about their health, until you have offered them the job. But you might want to include in the advert details of the job that it is working on their own ,and that you would expect them to be in good healthy position and that it might be subject to health assessment. So here we go. On with some of the other things I would look out for, is a car checklist for drivers. And that again is before they start on a daily basis although we have got the company car policy we have a piece of paper with a car checklist for drivers where we check to say that we have gas, oil, water, that the tires are great for driving, and that they do that car checklist every single day, or at least once a week anyway. Or before they take on a large long journey. Driver’s license I should mention in the handbook, I speak about this all the time it is going to be big news within the next 12 months. DVLA, Health and safety recommend that you check licenses every six months. For me, I check them whenever I recruit somebody any way with the DVLA that would make sure that I have got a health and safety policy and make sure that I have got that mentions drivers licenses. And I would say that if your driving license details change, that if you get an endorsement, banned from driving you need to tell us at the earliest stage possible.  And that on day one, you make sure that you actually, check with the DVLA that the license is a valid license. And I have mentioned stories before, of how people drive when they are banned from driving, and the usual reason for this, is because their employer hasn't checked that their license is a valid license. So, a mobile worker's implement measures to minimize risks then this could be eliminating journeys where possible. So might get trains instead of driving.  If it's bad weather they might take a train, put off a journey and then you might have a policy on bad weather as well, what they would do in times of snow and floods. It's so maybe possible train journeys, teleconferencing instead and ensuring that the vehicles are appropriate and effectively maintained which we covered under the car checklist for drivers. Ensuring that drivers are appropriate or fit to drive, so that again is the health questionnaire, it is mentioning it in the advert saying that this job involves driving, but also as well making sure you have got the capability policy to cover things later on.  Where somebody might end up with a bad back, they might become ill and not able to drive so a capability policy is something I recommend as well. So making sure drivers are appropriate, having that fitness statement in handbook. Legally check the licenses every six months, you might want policies on mixing driving with drugs, alcohol, illness, stress, fatigue, and speed.  And the use of mobile phones which would all be in the use of a company car policy, or the use of the phone policy when you are driving.  But again what is really important here, is that you might have rules in place that say, prior to taking on a journey that they can't be using drugs or alcohol. Well they shouldn't be using drugs anyway but, drugs alcohol etc. prior to a journey. I know that if you were a pilot or a train driver, that is the policy they would have. So, introducing support measures such as emergency planning and incentives for safer driving. That is why you see these vans on the road saying am I a safe driver? And then we have got other work, and implications again working time regulations kicks in here again, and we have to consider the impact of other work that people might do. So if I'm working for you and I'm working from home, you really don't know what I am up to so I could be working for other people. So what you need to make sure is that you have a policy that says, any inventions or any discoveries or any work that you do within the working hours belongs to me. That's the first thing, the second thing is that if you are making sure what you should be also doing is making sure because of the working Time regulations, that you have a policy in place that says if you want to work elsewhere you need to apply it writing because you are responsible for considering the work that they are doing for other places that must be added to the main employer. So again other work is very crucial here, a capability policy watch out for sickness as well because if somebody is working long distance if they are working as a mobile remote worker and they are scared of their health and safety might be off sick but you have to keep an eye on sickness here, because they are off-site, you don't know why they are sick there might be an underlying issue here. So always do a return to work interview anyway and it is absolutely crucial if you have mobile workers that they phone in and do a return to work interview. And what you would do that is you would ask them have you seen a doctor, do you have a fit note, have they said you could come into work, have you taken any medication and you tie that in with your health statement you have got in your employee handbook. And again a stress policy as well. So we are nearing that the end of the presentation here, so I just thought I would cover a couple of paragraphs here on basic health and safety. So the questions I get asked are do you need to have a health and safety policy? Well you must have a recent health and safety policy if you employ five or more members of staff. But as I always say it is always best to start as you go on, so even if you employ one member of staff, I want it at the very beginning. It is a legal requirement it is here to establish what arrangements you have in place to manage the health, safety, and welfare of your employees. Without a written policy it is difficult to prove that you have not been negligent in managing health and safety risks involved with your business. Under the case of an action, this could lead to large fines and/or imprisonment. As an employer you must assess, and manage health and safety risks. Whether you are large, small or self-employed. Accidents and ill health can ruin lives and damage your business. You are not expected to eliminate all risk but you are required to protect people so far as it reasonably practical.  And just to remind you here you can have a fatality you could have an accident, but as long as you have got provisions in place, that you can turn around and say well I had an induction on a day one, I trained that person, they've signed the training, I have got the health questionnaire in there. So you could have an accident and fatality, but if you can prove that person has seen your health and safety policy, said they understood it, you've got everything in place, you may not be prosecuted. So, do you have and employee health and safety handbook? Well to ensure that the employees fully understand their responsibilities, and specific safety rules applying to them, you should provide a handbook or rulebook advising all of your employees of the safety arrangements you have in place, to protect those who may be affected by your operations. It is vital that everyone is aware of their individual responsibility particularly where a legal duty has been delegated to them. And make sure that is in their job description. An employee health and safety handbook is an important tool and ensuring that everybody has this awareness. It is also advisable to make sure that every employee signs that they may have read and understood it. So how often should you review your documentation? Well a change in operations or premises or job role, especially with home working, lone working or mobile working, new equipment and use within your organization, a new legislation or guidance relevant to your business operations. But usually if none of this has happened it should be at least annually. So if you run a business, however large or small, you must carry out a careful examination of what activities you undertake that may pose a hazard to others. And this is where we would do risk assessments. You need to examine the work you undertake, how it is carried out, and whether or not this could cause harm. You need to establish what if any controls are required to reduce the risk, and what if anything else you could do to reduce any potential for accidents or incidents. So how often should you do risk assessments? Again, Review your risk assessments with business change, process, accident, technology, loose piece of equipment, a vulnerable worker, a new expectant mother. So you do need to do these risk assessments before you carry out the job. So inductions, this is crucial inductions. An induction is a process used by employers to help new starters to integrate to a new role. Company, new surroundings and to make them aware of the processes. So even from a home worker, remote worker or a mobile worker you must allow time to make sure that I am having an induction to see all your training and your processes and your rules and safety that you have in the workplace. These can take different times for different sized companies. Employers are legally required to provide health and safety information, inductions usually cover facilities, health and safety information, fire safety information, duties structure, introduction, terms and conditions, rules and regulations, and a company overview. And remember, for here talking about visitors and contractors here, but I thought I must include this. Even though we are talking about lone workers, we are talking about home workers, mobile workers and remote workers, remember you have a duty of care to visitors and contractors. But I like to see is delegated. I like to have a health and safety visitors book, and on the left-hand side it says where my visitors can go, where they can't go, what's they can touch, and that if they have an accident they have to report it immediately. I also like to draw their attention to the fire and evacuation procedures as well. So I like to see a visitors book and a contractor's policy. A contractor is someone brought on the premises to work, but is not an employee and that is somebody who does the work you can't do. In a client contractor relationship both parties will have duties under health and safety law, and the extent of the responsibilities of each party depends on the circumstances and agreements. And training, this is just one of the four elements of section 2 (3), of the health and safety at work act 1974. The three remaining of being information, instruction, and supervision all of what I have covered today. Any employer providing these four elements will be fulfilling a major part of their health and safety requirements. The importance and value of training cannot be over emphasized. Remember this, employees need to be fully aware of their responsibilities relating to health and safety, of not just themselves but of fellow colleagues. Training should be constants to allow for changes. So this is where I'm on about with the home worker, remote, mobile worker, or lone worker, that they might not be included or kept up to date on the training, and it is absolutely crucial that you do. All staff training should be recorded in the company's safety records. And staff should be required to sign to indicate that they received training, and that they understood it. Review all the time, the health and safety training needs of employees and to assure they are competent for the task they are required to perform. So we then come to fire risk assessments. This is mainly for your main base. So the change on 1st of October 2006 although it only seems like five minutes ago, we are talking about 2006 here. It has been going on for ages now, the fire safety order of 2005 came into force as a main requirements, a responsible person must carry out a fire risk assessment to determine what general fire precautionary measures are necessary to protect relevant people. In more complex buildings, with intricate escape arrangements, large numbers of people or high operational risk processes, a more comprehensive fire risk assessment may be necessary with professional assistance. Remember it is a live of documents, it should be kept abreast of building changes as well. So, reporting accidents. All accidents must be recorded in the data protection, client accident book. this is followed by why the accident occurred, and any corrective actions required to ensure there is no recurrence. Some accidents will need to be reported to the Health and Safety executive, that is the HSE, under the reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrence regulations. And a simple breakdown of these are deaths, major injuries that result in over 3 days absence from work, and these regulations also lists a number of diseases and dangerous occurrences that must also be reported to the Health and Safety executive. So, we now come to personal protective clothing, and I have covered this because although we are talking about lone workers and remote workers and mobile workers, and home workers we need to just cover personal protective equipment as well. So to ensure compliance with current health and safety legislation, PPE should only be supplied and used at work wherever there are risks to health and safety that cannot be adequately controlled in other ways. PPE that is required should be identified in the risk assessment, complete and to the task to be undertaken. So what we are looking for as well is a policy on this. So I want to know if for example, if you issued protective clothing that they understand why they've got to wear it, that you are not just giving it to them, that you are delegating responsibility again to say I know I've got to wear but I will make sure that I wear it and when I require new protective clothing, that I bring the old one in an and get the new one back. That way it saves you money, and then again as I said the wastage policy alongside this, in case there is damage to the protective clothing because of neglect. When PPE is established as the only effective means of controlling the risk of injury or ill health as a result of comprehensive risk assessment, legislation states that it should be available, remember this free of charge for use at work. So we are looking at high-viz jackets as well for people that will be working on the road etc. Where for good hygiene reasons PPE should be issued to each individual employee, for their exclusive use should this be the case. This would apply to gloves, ear plugs etc. All reasonable steps should be taken by the employer to assure that PPE is properly used, maintained and stored in a proper manner. And finally we come to hazardous substances.  Specific hazardous substances legislation requires employers to identify all of those substances, that is chemicals, products that is chemical fumes, dust, vapors, gases and biological agents and germs that are linked to their undertaking and carry out an assessment of health risks associated with exposure to the substance. Once the assessment has been carried out, communicate the findings and control measures that are specific to that product. And remember that we need employers liability insurance even if we employ people at home. Nearly all employers that employ other people are obliged by law to have employers liability insurance. This protects their employees against the hardship caused by any injury or disease that they suffer, resulting from their employment. The employer's liability, that is the Compulsory Insurance act 1969, demand that the employer has insurance cover against such claims. This helps your employees but also protect your business from expenses related to serious accidents or illnesses. Just remember as well, that you need to make sure you keep your insurance certificates even if you're been operating for 10, 15, 20 years because of I'm to make a claim on the insurance I making a claim on the insurance that is in place when I had the accident, not now. The health and safety executive enforces the law, on employers liability insurance. And health and safety inspectors can check that you have employers liability insurance within proof to insure at least 5,000,000 pound. This may ask to see your certificate of insurance and other insurance details, and you can be fined 2,500 pound for any day which you are without suitable insurance. If you do not display this certificate of insurance, or refuse to make it available to Health and Safety inspectors when they ask, you can be fined up to 1,000 pound. So, remember, the cost of accidents in the workplace and at home. These are the uninsured costs like investigation time, overtime payments, production delay, sick pay, excess on any claim, legal time, loss of reputation, loss of business contracts and damage to tools. I'd like to thank you for listening to me today, I hope I have covered everything for lone workers, mobile workers, remote workers.  I hope I've covered everything for you, I thought I'd add some other things of health and safety in there. I'd like to thank you for listening, I hope you have enjoined it. This recording will be available later on, on YouTube and there's the link there. It is www.youtube.com/pbspressoffice.  If you'd like to ask me about what Peninsula does, and how it supports people, and you would like access to a free consultation where we could look at what you've got in place and offer you some advice, contact me Amanda@peninsula-uk.com. It's free to get us out to see you. But also we have now introduced a new health and safety service that starts off at as little as 59 pounds a month, if it is something that you are interested in. Thank you very much for listening to me today, and I hope to speak to you again soon. And it is good.

Suggested Resources