Axis Group delivers ‘first-of-its-kind’ lone worker protection at Old Spitalfields Market

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.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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