Dark Nights: Employee Safety at Every Hour
Daylight Saving Time ends in late October each year, and with the clocks going back an hour, employees are more likely to spend at least a part of their working day in the dark. Employers have a duty to ensure employee safety, particularly those who are out in the late afternoon, evening and night are safe wherever they may be.
Putting a few clear and effective systems in place to support health and safety efforts after dark is the easiest way to showcase a duty of care to staff. The majority of these policies are simple and cost-effective.
High-visibility clothing will reduce the risks of accidents and ensure that workers can be seen during dusk and into the night. Brighter workwear will also make it easier to locate employees, especially in hazardous conditions during the winter months. Hi-vis clothing is classified as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and generally underscores basic health and safety schemes at work.
Shine a light
Navigating workplace premises is more hazardous after dark. Providing small appliances such as torches, hand lamps, headlights, lanterns and work lights will allow employees to complete work tasks and travel freely with sufficient lighting at all times. Employees can be caught out by the clocks going back, so try to plan ahead so that they have everything they need.
Make some noise
Employees such as postal workers and patrol guards often work alone, so it is vital that they have a personal alarm or other device that enables them to raise a signal or make a noise if they are in danger or want to scare off attackers. This will not only improve health and safety but also give staff peace of mind when working during dark nights.
Safety in numbers
Commuting to and from work in November, December, January and February is more hazardous due to the shorter days. Walking alone during these times can be risky, so consider using car sharing schemes to give employees peace of mind that everyone is arriving home safely. Travelling in numbers on public transport and to and from appointments is also preferable.
Using hi-tech smartphones and connected devices after dark can attract thieves and other malicious third parties. It is important to pack brightly lit devices away in a backpack or case. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) schemes are in use at many workplaces. It is crucial to ensure devices are passcode protected and locked to prevent loss of sensitive business data.
Darker environments require employees to be more vigilant about risks and dangers. Staying alert at all times, whether commuting home or completing basic work tasks, is crucial. Changing direction is good when there is a possibility of encountering a suspect group of people or alley.
Mix up routine
Routines and patterns make it easy for outsiders to anticipate movements on any given day. Try to mix up working methods and journeys. Changing the times that an employee can leave a particular office or locations is also recommended.