Sunday 30th October will see British Summer Time (BST) officially coming to an end, with extended hours of darkness now upon us. Personal safety should always be of the utmost importance year round, but particularly during these darker nights, where the risks of crime or accidents can be increased. As such, the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) is keen to provide advice to employers and employees in particular about the importance of lone worker safety.
In today’s society, it is becoming increasingly common for employees to be more mobile in their roles, meaning they can often be in situations where they are working alone. Over six million people in the UK work either in isolation or without direct supervision across a multitude of industries, including transport, healthcare, retail and hospitality. With that in mind, employers have a duty of care to ensure they are 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, advises: “Suzy Lamplugh Trust highlights the importance of thinking about personal safety particularly in the darker winter months. In particular we would advise anyone who works or travels for work on their own to think about carrying a lone worker device to enable colleagues to locate you quickly if you feel in danger, keep to well-lit busy roads and always alert someone to your planned route and expected time of arrival at your destination.”
There are an increasing number of lone worker services available on the market, however, it is essential that the chosen solution is certified to BS 8484, a Code of Practice for the provision of Lone Worker Services. Lone worker devices can include applications on smartphones or dedicated GPS/GSM devices connected to an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC), which receives and manages any activation of the device, allowing them to contact the emergency services where necessary and issue an appropriate response. However, if a supplier of the device is not certified to BS 8484 then a priority Police response may not always be guaranteed.
“When the dark nights draw in and the weather deteriorates, actual risk and the perception of risk that lone workers face tends to increase,” explains Craig Swallow, Chairman of the BSIA’s Lone Worker Section. “Compounding this, it’s often in these coming months that robbery related risks, as well as attacks and verbal abuse, increases and so employers of lone workers should be mindful and seek to deploy BS 8484 compliant solutions to mitigate or remove the risks.”