Staying safe while working alone at night
Is working alone at night illegal? Is it safe to work alone at night? What can you do to feel safe? And what can employers do to protect night shift workers? Find out more.
The weather's changing, UK summertime has officially ended. It’s time for shorter days, darker mornings, and colder weather; autumn is well and truly here, and winter will soon follow. Therefore, it's time to start thinking differently about the way we dynamically assess our working environment.
There is no official law on working alone at night. However, under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, it is the responsibility of all employers to consider all the risks to your health and safety whilst under their supervision. This includes working alone at night and working in cold temperatures.
How does the change in weather impact working alone at night?
Firstly, it’s essential to consider how this change in season impacts the type of risks we face when carrying out our working duties. For example, working alone at night this time of year presents a much greater variety of risks. Along with the unseasonal risks associated with poor lighting, which by the way are also magnified this time of year due to the extended hours of darkness, it’s important to consider how our working surroundings are changing.
Things like falling leaves, increased rainfall, and frosty conditions will create slippery and potentially hazardous surfaces. If you add this to the extended hours of darkness, it will of course increase the chances of an accident when working a night shift alone, for example.
According to TUC 1 in 9 workers now work as part of the night time economy. That's nearly 3.2 million people.
Slips, trips and falls on the night shift
It’s no surprise that in the colder months, incidents such as slips, trips and falls can occur more frequently. As the HSE attest, ‘Most slips occur in wet or contaminated conditions.’ As well as this, they also found that ‘the risk of errors, accidents and injuries has been found to be higher on the night shift.’
According to a RIDDOR report slips, trips and falls were responsible for the majority of reported non-fatal injuries in 2019/20. A whopping 29%, which is at least 10% more than any other occurrence.
Working alone at night doesn’t necessarily heighten the chances of an incident occurring, particularly if you’re working in a well-lit area, however, what it does do is slow down the response should something happen. So, what can you do if you’re working alone at night without the normal avenues of support? You could start by talking with your health and safety manager and consider whether using a lone worker safety solution could benefit you and your organisation.
As well as a variety of safety features the illuminated screen on the SoloProtect touchscreen range of devices makes them easy to use in the dark, ideal for the gloomy winter months.
What else can impact your safety when you're working alone at night?
Poor visibility will undoubtedly have an impact on your safety should you be working a night shift alone. But poor lighting isn’t the only thing you should be wary of at this time of year.
Additional Seasonal Risks
Issues to consider during the autumn/winter months:
- Wet and decaying leaves
- Ice, frost, snow
Is it illegal to work alone at night?
Of course it isn't, however, it is the responsibility of your employer to ensure you come home safely every day after working alone at night. Each new day brings with it a fresh set of risks; therefore, we must remain vigilant and dynamically assess the environment as it continues to change.
Whatever you do for a living in it’s imperative that you’re extra careful this time of year. If you’re open to the elements and have a chance of encountering environmental risk, it’s important that you carefully consider what you can do to reduce risk and provide yourself with that extra support.
Would you benefit from a personal safety solution?
Our personal safety team assessment document will help your health and safety manager consider, and attribute scoring to some of the risks faced by home workers, community personnel and remote workers.
If you’d like to find out more, please fill in the form below and a member of the SoloProtect team will get back to you as soon as possible: