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‘Lone working’ risks highlighted at HPRA

The potential risks of hybrid working have been highlighted by a recent incident in the office of the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), the Medical Independent (MI) can report.

Staff working in the HPRA office at Earlsfort Terrace in Dublin have been asked to ensure they carry a mobile phone with them to alert other staff “should any assistance be required”. The reminder was issued following an incident in April.

“There was an incident in the HPRA building… a brief overview of the accident and outcome was provided to the management committee,” according to minutes of the April meeting of the HPRA management committee. The minutes were seen by MI following a Freedom of Information request.

“The incident highlighted the need for a further reminder to staff about the increased risk of lone working in the HPRA offices during the level five social restrictions,” read the minutes.

“It was proposed to encourage staff to carry their mobile phones at all times when on site during the pandemic. Further text will be added to the intranet and emailed to staff highlighting the procedures in place.”

A spokesperson for the HPRA told MI that the incident involved “an employee who cut their finger and has fully recovered”.

“Due to lower staff attendance in the office, as most staff work remotely in line with Government guidance in relation to Covid-19, a reminder to all staff was issued to be conscious that there may be very few other staff present in the office.”

The spokesperson added that HPRA staff in the office should “ensure” they carry a mobile phone with them “to alert other staff should any assistance be required”.

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