Axis Group has introduced ‘next generation’ lone worker protection technology at the iconic Old Spitalfields Market to support its client in delivering the highest levels of Duty of Care for the site’s occupiers and their staff.
Axis Cleaning and Support Services has been working with Old Spitalfields Market Limited for a number of years, initially providing security services through sister company Axis Security and then, more recently, soft services. Old Spitalfields Market Limited approached Axis Group regarding the supply of an emergency alarm solution which could cover the 45-plus retail outlets within Old Spitalfields Market in a manner which was both cost-effective and caused little disturbance to the design and layout.
Simon Giles, Axis’ chief operating officer, realised that an innovative solution developed by Pick Protection aimed at lone workers could also be used. The system, which is described as a ‘first-of-its-kind’ within the retail sector, works by giving each retail unit’s staff members a discreet Bluetooth and Wi-Fi-connected button to carry at all times, or an app on their mobile phone. If an employee feels uncomfortable with a situation, is witness to an incident or feels in any way threatened, they’re able to discreetly activate their device and send an alert to Old Spitalfields Market’s on-site concierge office.
The concierge office is staffed by a Security Industry Authority (SIA)-qualified operative and, once an employee activates their device, the Pick Protection customer portal sounds an alarm from the office PC. It shows on a visual tracker map to identify where the alarm has been activated. The SIA-qualified operative can then call the retail unit in question to find out more or send an officer to investigate. In addition, two phones are issued to the soft services team on patrol. These will ring if an alarm is activated to provide additional on-site support.
Giles informed Risk Xtra that workers are encouraged to use the system as a preventative measure to enhance their safety. “The idea is that the employee activates their alarm before a situation escalates, providing immediate access to support. Pick Protection provides an excellent alternative to systems monitored by Alarm Receiving Centres that require significant client investment and don’t provide the on-site rapid response times that this system does.”
Rebecca Pick, CEO of Pick Protection, states that the lone worker protection system is already proving successful in other sectors. “It’s being used by local authorities and housing associations and was highly commended at the Health and Safety Excellence Awards. Our goal is to provide affordable lone worker protection that’s easy to implement and easy for employees to use every day. It demonstrates that Old Spitalfields Market is raising the bar in terms of employee safety levels.”
Paul Davies, head of real estate and facilities at Old Spitalfields Market Limited, has commented that the system uses the latest technology to provide a fast, intelligent and flexible lone worker support system. “We’re extremely pleased that our retailers and their employees working in the market have been given this additional level of safety. We’ve worked closely with Axis Group and Pick Protection to ensure that we’ve implemented the system properly. While Old Spitalfields Market contains a great deal of high-value stock, it’s the employees who are our most valuable asset. We have a strong Duty of Care to our lone workers. Using the new and innovative Pick Protection technology has enhanced our ability to deliver on this.”