Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year, from Walker Health and Safety Services Limited.
Driving in adverse weather conditions is dangerous, as the vehicle will not always behave in ways that might be expected. This makes driving tiring and stressful, due to the higher levels of concentration required. Adverse weather conditions include high winds, driving rain, fog, snow and ice.
Drivers are often ill-prepared for driving in these conditions and the following simple safeguards are often overlooked.
When driving in fog, switch on front and rear fog lights but remember to turn them off when conditions clear as rear fog lights dazzle drivers behind (it is also an offence to drive in clear conditions with rear fog lights on).
Slow down when driving in rain as wet roads are slippery and stopping distances are dramatically increased. Turn on dipped beam headlights. Be aware when passing large vehicles that excessive spray can temporarily swamp the windscreen and completely obscure the driver’s vision.
Driving in high winds is unpredictable, especially over bridges and exposed high ground. Sudden gusts, known as wind shear, can cause a vehicle to veer violently. The driver should be aware that large vehicles may veer around in high winds.
Snow, sleet and ice are treacherous as road conditions can vary in a very short space of time and patches of black ice may be present. In times of extreme cold, it is advisable to have warm clothes, blankets, suitable footwear and even a flask of hot drink in the vehicle in case of a breakdown.
Wherever possible, driving in adverse conditions should be avoided. All major road safety organisations warn drivers to avoid driving in snowy conditions. If driving in snow is necessary, consider having a shovel in the vehicle.
Be safe out there!!
Contact Walker Health and Safety Services if you require assistance.
Lone workers are those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision.
Legal duties and responsibilities around lone working
There is no legal requirement indicating that lone working must not happen.
However, a great deal depends upon the Risk Assessment which should be undertaken as part of broad duties under The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) and The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999).
These regulations require identifying the hazards found at work, assessing the risks arising from these hazards, and then putting measures in place to control the risks.
Assessing and controlling the risks of lone working
A Risk Assessment should indicate any significant risk, and detail how the risks should be adequately controlled for lone working to continue.
Risk assessment often identifies the correct level of supervision or backup required. Some risk assessments, such as those for working in confined spaces, state that communication and rescue arrangements need to be in place where at least one other person needs to be present.
Control measures may include training, instruction, communications, supervision and personal protective equipment.
If a Risk Assessment shows it is unsafe to work alone, then arrangements should be in place for providing help or backup.
If the worker is at another employer’s workplace, the occupier should inform the lone worker’s employer of the risks and of control measures needed.
For organisations with five or more employees, the Risk Assessment of significant findings must be recorded.
Safe arrangements for lone workers
Safe working arrangements for lone workers are no different to organising the safety of other employees:
Lone workers in many situations also face greater risks from violence and aggression.
Medical suitability of lone workers
Check that lone workers have no medical condition that would make them unsuitable for working alone, seeking medical advice if necessary.
Training for lone workers
Training is particularly important where there is limited supervision:
Supervision of lone workers
The extent of supervision depends on the risk and the ability of the lone worker to identify and handle health and safety issues.
Employees new to a job may need to be accompanied until competencies are achieved. Supervisors may periodically visit to observe the work being done.
Emergencies and lone working