“I run a small body repair MOT workshop. I sometimes have to leave my technician working on his own when I am out of the business, is that okay? Is there any law in this area?”
Employers who have employees who are likely to be working on their own need to carry out a risk assessment. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 ensures a duty of care on employers to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations also require employers to carry out a risk assessment.
In the above situation a bodyshop or MOT testing area is likely to be a relatively hazardous environment. The employer is required to consider the risks posed to a lone worker in such an environment. Where a risk assessment shows it is not possible for the work to be done safely by a lone worker, arrangements for providing help or backup should be put in place. A risk assessment might include that it is not safe for one person to work alone, examples include working in confined space or work involving electrics or other dangers where two people might be required to be present.
Precautions should be planned for foreseeable emergencies e.g. fire, equipment failure, illness and accidents etc.
The following questions should be asked by the employer:
- Does the workplace present a special risk to the lone worker?
- Is there a safe way in and a way out for one person? Can any temporary access equipment which is necessary, such as portable ladders or trestles, be safely handled by one person?
- Can all the plant, substances and goods involved in the work be safely handled by one person? Consider whether the work involves lifting objects too large for one person or whether more than one person is needed to operate essential controls for the safe running of equipment.
- Is there a risk of violence?
- Are women especially at risk if they work alone?
- Are young workers especially at risk if they work alone?
- Is the person medically fit and suitable to work alone?
- What happens if the person becomes ill, has an accident or there is an emergency?
Motor Industry Legal Services
Motor Industry Legal Services (MILS Solicitors) provides fully comprehensive legal advice and representation to UK motor retailers for one annual fee. It is the only law firm in the UK which specialises in motor law and motor trade law. MILS currently advises over 1,000 individual businesses within the sector as well as the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI) and its members.