Sunday 30 October saw British Summer Time (BST) officially coming to an end, with extended hours of darkness now upon us. Personal safety should be of the utmost importance the whole year round, of course, but particularly so during these darker nights, where the risks of crime or accidents can be increased. That being the case, the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) is keen to provide advice to both employers and employees about the importance of lone worker safety.
In today’s society, it’s more and more common for employees to be more mobile in their roles, meaning that they can often be in situations where they’re working alone. Over six million people in the UK work either in isolation or without direct supervision across a multitude of industries, among them transport, healthcare, retail and hospitality. With that in mind, employers have a Duty of Care to ensure they’re taking the necessary steps to keep their employees safe, which can include sourcing a quality lone worker solution to help decrease workplace risks.
Emphasising the importance of lone worker safety, Rachel Griffin (director of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust) advised: “The Suzy Lamplugh Trust highlights the importance of thinking about personal safety, and particularly so during the darker winter months. We would advise anyone who either works alone or travels for work on their own to think about carrying a lone worker device that will enable colleagues to quickly locate them if they believe they’re in danger. They should keep to well-lit and busy roads and always alert someone to both their planned route and expected time of arrival at their destination.”
There are an increasing number of lone worker services available on the market. However, it’s essential that the chosen solution is certified to BS 8484: 2009 Code of Practice for the Provision of Lone Worker Device Services. Lone worker devices can include applications on smart phones or dedicated GPS/GSM devices connected to an Alarm Receiving Centre, which receives and manages any activation of the device, in turn allowing the end user to contact the Emergency Services where necessary and issue an appropriate response.
It’s important to note that, if the supplier of a lone worker security/safety device isn’t certified to BS 8484, a priority police response may not always be guaranteed.
“When the dark nights draw in and the weather deteriorates, the actual risk as well as the perception of risk that lone workers face tends to increase,” explained Craig Swallow, chairman of the BSIA’s Lone Worker Section. “Compounding this issue, it’s often in these coming months that robbery-related risks, physical attacks and episodes of verbal abuse increase. Employers of lone workers should be mindful and seek to deploy BS 8484-compliant solutions to mitigate or remove the risks.”