As winter approaches and the days get shorter, particularly after the clocks go back on 26th October, millions more of us find ourselves travelling and working in the dark.
Although darker mornings and evenings affect most employees, even if it’s just commuting to and from work, lone workers are a particularly high risk group.
According to the British Security Industry Association, more than six million people in the UK work either in isolation or without direct supervision, including nursing, social and care workers, postal workers, delivery drivers, maintenance workers, emergency services, security workers, cleaners and transport workers.
While they are out and about, lone workers face risks. Accidents, road rage and attacks from people in or away from their homes are just a few things that happen even more easily under the cover of darkness.
Employers are required to maintain safe working arrangements under the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act. The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1992 places a duty on employers to assess and manage risks to their employees and others arising from work activities.
All of this makes now a good time of year for checking everything is in place for optimum worker safety, on and off site. A few things worth considering are:
Not just essential for all workplaces with moving vehicles or dark working conditions, high visibility vests and waistcoats can be a life saver out on the road, making people more visible if their car or van breaks down.
If it’s required for a job, employers must provide high visibility clothing free of charge, keep it clean and in working order and give employees’ information on when, where and why they need to wear it.
Keychain lights, headlights and heavy duty torches offer a range of options for finding your way in the dark.
With 130 plus decibel sirens that can be heard up to half a mile away, electronic personal alarms include ‘charm’ alarms that can be easily attached to key rings or bags.
Personal security is completely undermined if the devices that support you are out of batteries. Spare batteries should be kept in a bag or pocket where they can be easily located and all devices checked each time, before setting out.