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Lone worker protection deemed "essential" as corporate manslaughter cases rise

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There is a growing importance of robust health and safety measures to protect staff and employers from potential corporate manslaughter cases, the British Security Industry Association's (BSIA) Lone Worker Forum has said today.

Figures published earlier this year by law firm Pinsent Masons showed that the number of corporate manslaughter cases rose to 63 in 2012, compared with 45 in 2011 – an increase of 40%.

Pinsent Masons also warned of an increased focus by the Crown Prosecution Service on corporate manslaughter claims, claiming that momentum is growing around enforcement of the 2007 Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act, with a number of new cases in the pipeline.

The BSIA has said the protection of those employees who work either alone or without direct supervision should be a key consideration for every business as part of its health and safety strategy.

The BSIA has stated that more than six million people in the UK work either in isolation or without direct supervision, often in places or circumstances that put them at potential risk.

A wide variety of organsiations and industry sectors employ people whose jobs require them to work or operate alone, wither regularly or occasionally.

Patrick Dealtry, chairman of the BSIA's Lone Worker Forum, said: "Almost by definition, lone working can be both intimidating and at times dangerous, so the protection of lone workers involves a twofold approach; not only to provide safeguards but also to offer reassurance to the people involved.

"Providing vulnerable employees with a mechanism to call for help if they feel threatened should be a key element of a company's health and safety policy, and also provides reassurance that they are fulfilling their duty of care."

Dealtry added: "Any business employing lone workers should take heed of this latest research and ensure that they have robust solutions in place, both to protect lone workers, and to reduce the risk of prosecution should an incident occur."