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Firms urged to focus on lone worker security as nights draw in

With the recent end of British summer time bringing extended hours of darkness to the UK, businesses have been reminded of the need to implement proper security measures for people working alone.

The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) stressed that, while employee safety should be a primary concern for employers regardless of the time of year, the threat of crime and the risk of accidents is often higher on darker winter nights.

 

It's also important for bosses and facilities managers to consider the changing nature of many workers' roles in the 21st century. The growth of mobile technology has enabled more employees to work on the move, which increases the possibility of people being in situations where they are working alone.

Organisations that have noticed an increase in levels of mobility within their operations could benefit from using mobile security, which can guarantee protection for staff and assets on the move. Services such as these can be used to add an extra layer of security on top of fundamental measures such as manned guarding.

According to the BSIA, over six million people in the UK work either in isolation or without direct supervision, across industries ranging from transport and healthcare to retail and hospitality. It stressed that employers have "a duty of care to ensure they are taking the necessary steps to keep their employees safe", adding that a dedicated lone worker solution could help to reduce workplace risks.

The industry group underlined its point with comments from Rachel Griffin, director of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, a charity dedicated to improving personal safety and reducing the risk of crime and violence towards individuals.

Ms Griffin said: "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."

Lone worker devices can be applications on smartphones or dedicated GPS devices that are connected to an alarm receiving centre, guaranteeing a quick response or contact with emergency services if necessary.

Craig Swallow, chairman of the BSIA's Lone Worker Section, commented: "When the dark nights draw in and the weather deteriorates, actual risk and the perception of risk that lone workers face tends to increase. Compounding this, it's often in these coming months that robbery-related risks, as well as attacks and verbal abuse, increase and so employers of lone workers should be mindful."

Mr Swallow recently claimed that the UK is "the most advanced market in the world" when it comes to the issue of lone worker risks and how to address them. He said that part of the reason for this is the close relationship between industry providers and the police.

 

Posted by Andrew Miller

Image courtesy of iStock Yasin Emir Akbas

 

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