Lone worker solutions – with you every step of the journey
The BSIA looks at some of the security solutions available to help mitigate the risks of lone working.
Ensuring the safety of employees should always be at the top of the priorities list for any organisation, particularly as we begin to see extended hours of darkness through the winter months. This is especially important for employees who work in isolation or without direct supervision, which is particularly commonplace in the transport industry. Here, the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) looks at some of the security solutions available to help mitigate the risks of lone working.
Within the transport sector, there are a large variety of roles that require employees to work alone, from those in the ticket office, to platform staff, train managers, mariners, engineers and delivery drivers. Sometimes, these roles can result in the employee being confronted with intimidating or potentially dangerous situations. As a result, it is absolutely essential that employers are taking the necessary steps in order to safeguard their employees and provide reassurance that they are safe in their roles.
When asked about their experiences with lone workers in the transport sector, members of the BSIA’s Lone Worker Section believed that the groups facing the highest levels of risk while lone working were drivers, including long-distance HGV road haulage drivers as well as LGV or local delivery drivers. One of the key issues highlighted was the fact that there is a lack of suitable, secure haulage parking, meaning drivers often have to park in lay-bys or industrial estates, which can leave them extremely vulnerable to attacks. Such risks can include physical violence, armed robberies and verbal threats, with organised criminals often coming up with new methods to carry out attacks.
Duty of care for employees should be a key priority within any sector, with increased awareness of employers’ responsibilities under health and safety and corporate manslaughter legislation meaning lone worker safety has been taken more seriously in recent years. Discussing the place of lone worker security in today’s society, Craig Swallow, Chairman of the BSIA’s Lone Worker Section, explained: “Compared to ten years ago, even five years ago, more staff these days are mobile and, by default, this means they tend to operate on their own or spend periods of time away from colleagues. In many walks of life, jobs can be conducted out of hours or on weekends, which further complicates the challenge for managers to ensure the safety of their staff. Health and safety legislation has also become stronger since the introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter Act in 2007 and revised sentencing guidelines early last year” he continued. “Add to that the growing awareness of the cost of reputational brand damage, the cost to insure workers operating out of hours and the desire to recruit and keep quality staff, you can start to see why credible employers take the subject matter seriously.”
BSIA Lone Worker Section members have been offering high quality lone worker services to a wide range of sectors, especially the transport industry. One member, Guardian24, assisted First Glasgow, the largest bus operating company in Scotland with over 1000 buses in operation and 2800 employees. First Glasgow employs a number of street inspectors and customer agents who often have to wear High Visibility clothing while standing alone at prominent street locations or on a service vehicle. They found that due to the required clothing, staff often found themselves the targets of verbal abuse or the possibility of assault from members of the public or even staff from rival operators. They were looking for a lone worker solution to suit their organisational needs and chose Guradian24 via Smartphone, which utilised the mobile equipment the company had already invested in. This meant that costs could be reduced whilst providing staff with the peace of mind that their safety and wellbeing was a priority.
Another BSIA member, Skyguard, offered an effective solution to the Gregory Group, who operates a fleet of over 500 vehicles, 900 trailers and 1900 employees. They began using Skyguard’s MySOS, a small and light personal alarm that allows drivers to call for help at the touch of a button, no matter where they are. With haulage drivers being a common target for criminals, Gregory Distribution recognised the need for a quality lone worker solution to protect their employees. They chose Skyguard, who have a purpose-built Incident Management Centre (IMC) where a Skyguard controller will listen in, locate the user, assess the situation and take the appropriate action.