The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) has introduced a guide to lone worker services for the retail sector. Aimed at employers and stakeholders operational in that space, the document highlights the importance of lone worker safety and explains how lone worker devices are helping to keep employees protected from harm.
More than six million people in the UK work either in isolation or without the safety net provided by direct supervision, often in places or circumstances that put them at potential risk. A wide variety of organisations and industry sectors employ people whose jobs require them to work or operate alone, either regularly or occasionally.
Almost by definition, lone working can be both intimidating and, at times, dangerous, so the protection of lone workers involves a two-fold approach not only to provide safeguards, but also to offer reassurance to the dedicated individuals involved.
In the retail sector, the 24/7 nature of many roles means that there are risks faced by employees, particularly those that work late at night or who are receiving deliveries early in the morning.
With an ever-increasing number of lone workers operating in the retail sector, it’s vitally important for employers to be aware of their responsibilities.
Legal obligation for employers
Craig Swallow, chairman of the BSIA’s Lone Worker Section, explained: “Employers in the retail sector have a legal obligation to ensure the safety of their lone workers. This includes making sure that a risk assessment is carried out and that strategies are implemented to provide a safe working environment. Furthermore, employers must ensure that all of their lone workers have the relevant resources, training and information to work on their own on a safe basis and that there are procedures to deal with a lone worker having an accident.”
Swallow continued: “I’m really pleased to see the publication of this valuable guide. The retail sector is a vertical market where there are many types of lone workers facing the risks of verbal and physical abuse as well as slips, trips and falls. The guide provides useful information on what constitutes lone working, how lone worker protection solutions function and the fundamental importance of British Standard BS 8484.”
The guide also outlines what to look for when choosing a system, suggesting that employers seek out solutions that offer device or smart phone applications certified to BS 8484, suppliers who can prove that they’re certified to BS 8484 through audit, suppliers monitored by an Alarm Receiving Centre certified to BS 8484 (Part 6) and BS 5979 (Cat II) or BS 8591/EN 50518 and solutions that fit the lone working application and risk profile of the workforce.