We thought a three-hour virtual conference would be long enough but we were wrong! There were so many questions put forward by the audience  we simply couldn’t answer them all live so here are the answers to those we didn’t get round to on the day…

Is driving to a site seen as lone working if you are not office and drive directly from home to site?

Nigel Heaton’s Answer:
Driving is seen as a lone working activity unless
1. you have a permanent, fixed address to which to drive for work
2. you travel with a companion
So, if you are driving to a site, then you are owed a duty of care from the time you leave your home until you return, unless the site is your permanent place of work.

 If someone works from home doing programming as a job. Then has an accident doing another task not job specific is there a liability on the employer?

The HSE Answer:
There are two elements to liability, civil and criminal liability.

Under health and safety law (criminal liability), employers have the same responsibilities to home workers as any other worker, and employers must take steps to satisfy themselves that their workers have a safe working environment. This includes the responsibility to report accidents under RIDDOR. Not every incident taking place in a person’s home will be reportable.  An incident may be reportable if it occurred as a result of either the work activity being done or the equipment you have provided to undertake that work. HSE has produced web-based guidance to support you in making judgements about what needs to be reported under RIDDOR.

Under civil law, if someone has been injured or made ill through your negligence as an employer, they may be able to make a compensation claim against you. If you meet your responsibilities under health and safety law you will considerably reduce the risk of being found negligent under civil law.

In most cases, employers must have employers’ liability insurance. This will enable you to meet the cost of compensation for your employees’ injuries or illness. It’s a criminal offence if you do not have it.

What considerations should be made for retail workers who are working nightshifts alone and wouldn’t have time to take regular breaks?

Dr Karen McDonnell’s Answer:

The type and pattern of work outlined in the question should be subject to a risk assessment reflecting HSE guidance, the introduction to which highlights the issue ‘Lone workers face the same hazards at work as anyone else, but there is a greater risk of these hazards causing harm as they may not have anyone to help or support them if things go wrong. As an employer, you should provide training, supervision, monitoring and support for lone workers’

The risk assessment process should include the retail workers themselves and build in the opportunity for regular breaks. An ongoing dialogue between workers, worker representatives and managers that allows issues to be raised and addressed is also fundamentally important.

Nigel Heaton mentioned the police regarding lone working requirements – could he give any examples?

Nigel Heaton’s Answer: 
Policing as a risk, is considered in the HSE’s Striking the Balance document. Many activities undertaken by Police Officers would fall into the category of lone working. Police Officers are covered by the Health and Safety at Work Act (this has been true for more than 20 years). So, if you are an Officer undertaking an activity by yourself, I would expect evidence of a risk assessment (or equivalent) and explicit controls to manage that risk.

What should journey plans contain?

Dr Karen McDonnell’s Answer:

Journey plans should start with a question, ‘do I need to drive’ are there alternatives? Thereafter consider a range of issues including driver fitness, route planning, vehicle check, the weather and avoiding high risk times.

The RoSPA Safer Journey Planner guidance contains a useful flow chart to help you make the right decisions about each journey you make for work or during family time…careful planning can prevent accidents.

What is the impact of body cams – do you have to warn people that they are being recorded?

Chris Allcard’s Answer: There are many ‘impacts’ from deploying cameras.  The main benefit impact to an organisation and to staff is often the reduced levels of violence and aggression faced by wearers of the cameras.  You do need to consider and be able to justify their use.

There is also the impact of managing the footage created, balancing GDPR and people’s privacy.  That’s where the GDPR and Data Privacy Impact Assessment and data retention policies comes in and the resultant processes, procedures, and control measures that are generated as an output.  Credible cameras with footage access security and encryption, secure means by which the footage is uploaded, and a Video Management Software solution with strong permission levels and user hierarchies, etc are key components of this.  We have tested some cameras for example where you can simply plug them into a PC and copy across the footage – totally uncontrolled.

From my understanding you need to make best endeavours to ensure your service users, staff and (if applicable) the wider general public are aware that they could be recorded (and be able to demonstrate this potentially in any legal proceedings).  The measures taken depend on the circumstances and environments, etc.  Regardless, the cameras should be clearly marked as such and typically have the yellow camera symbols on them.  They should also visually show when they are recording (typically via flashing or constant red lights on the front of the camera).

We would advise our clients and camera users to warn people they are being recorded verbally.  It’s certainly good practice.  Every deployment we have done with body cameras has included this as part of the standard operating procedure and included in the user training.  In many instances (not all), this can be an effective part of a de-escalation strategy.

If you didn’t manage to join us for the event you can access it (and fast forward through the technical glitches) on our YouTube channel. Just click this link.