Duty of Care

You have a legal obligation to safeguard others from harm while they are in your care, using your service, or exposed to your activities.

Employers owe a duty of care to their employees. Mobile workers are entitled to the same level of care as their office-based colleagues, this includes while travelling and working remotely.

According to The British Crime Survey (2016), as many as 150 lone workers throughout England and Wales are attacked every day. Although there is little management can do to prevent the intent of others, the law requires that they must ensure adequate action has been taken to guarantee the safety of their workers. These actions must include, adequate risk assessments and the implementation of a robust risk management solution. Failing to do so may result in severe financial penalties and commercial risk.

Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act)

Employers have a legal duty under this Act to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of their employees.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

Employers must consider the risks to employees (including the risk of reasonably foreseeable violence); decide how significant these risks are; decide what to do to prevent or control the risks, and develop a clear management plan to achieve this.

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR)

Employers must notify their enforcing authority in the event of an accident at work to any employee resulting in death, major injury, or incapacity for normal work for seven consecutive days as a result of their injury. This includes any act of non-consensual physical violence done to a person at work. This seven-day period does not include the day of the accident but does include weekends and rest days. The report must be made within 15 days of the accident.

Accidents must be recorded, but not reported where they result in a worker being incapacitated for more than three consecutive days. If you are an employer, who must keep an accident book under the Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations 1979, that record will be enough.

Specified injuries include:

  • fractures, other than to fingers, thumbs and toes
  • amputations
  • any injury likely to lead to permanent loss of sight or reduction in sight
  • any crush injury to the head or torso causing damage to the brain or internal organs
  • serious burns (including scalding) which:
    • covers more than 10% of the body
    • causes significant damage to the eyes, respiratory system or other vital organs
  • any scalping requiring hospital treatment
  • any loss of consciousness caused by head injury or asphyxia
  • any other injury arising from working in an enclosed space which:
    • leads to hypothermia or heat-induced illness
    • requires resuscitation or admittance to hospital for more than 24 hours

Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977 (a) and The Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996 (b)

Employers must inform, and consult with, employees in good time on matters relating to their health and safety. Employee representatives, either appointed by recognised trade unions under (a) or elected under (b) may make representations to their employer on matters affecting the health and safety of those they represent.

The Corporate Manslaughter Act and Corporate Homicide Act

From June 2007, organisations can be prosecuted if the way in which its activities are managed or organised by senior management results in a person’s death or amounts to a gross breach of a relevant duty of care owed by the organisation to the deceased.

Further Information

Health and Safety Executive – Legislation


Health and Safety Executive – Working Alone in Safety


Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill

www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/pabills/200506/corporate_manslaughter_and_ corporate_homicide.htm