Monday 14th October marked this year’s annual National Personal Safety Day, an annual awareness day organised by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, one of the UK’s largest personal safety charities, which works closely with the Lone Worker Section of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA).
National Personal Safety Day aims to highlight some practical solutions that everyone can use in order to help avoid violence and aggression in today’s society, so that they may live safer, more confident lives.
This year’s awareness campaign is entitled ‘Streets Ahead’ and is primarily focused on safety on the streets. This message is particularly important as we near the end of October, when British Summer Time officially ends and we see the start of prolonged hours of darkness.
Explaining the objectives of this year’s campaign, Rachel Griffin, Director of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, comments: “The campaign aims to make people aware that there are some easy, practical steps a person can take to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of violence or aggression on the street and give them more confidence when out and about.
“Whilst risk levels vary from one area to another, there are some basic safety tips that anyone can use to help improve their safety, no matter who they are or where they are. For example, simply staying alert to your surroundings could help you to see potential danger ahead, giving you time to avoid it.”
In light of National Personal Safety Day, the BSIA’s Lone Worker Section is reiterating to those who work in isolation or without direct supervision the importance of staying safe on the streets, particularly during the winter months.
There are more than six million lone workers in the UK across a wide variety of organisations and industry sectors, including transport, healthcare and retail. Often, these workers carry out their roles in places or circumstances that put them at potential risk, and this risk is heightened during darker nights.
For businesses that employ lone workers, companies should be aware of their legal obligations to keep these workers safe. Failure to do so could, in the worst case, result in accident or even death, creating potential corporate manslaughter claims. Figures published earlier in the year by law firm Pinsent Masons showed that the number of corporate manslaughter cases rose to 63 in 2012, a 40% increase from the year before.
As such, it is essential for companies employing lone workers to ensure that a risk assessment is carried out, with strategies implemented to provide a safe working environment for the lone worker. It is also extremely important that the lone worker has the relevant resources, training and information to work on their own safely. Procedures should also be in place in case a lone worker has an accident or signals an emergency.
To help both lone workers and employers ensure a safe working environment, the private security industry has worked hard to develop specific lone worker devices equipped with mobile phone technology, which connect employees quickly and discreetly with an emergency response system that has direct links to the police should an incident arise.
Commenting on behalf of the BSIA, Craig Swallow, Vice-Chairman of the Lone Worker Section, says: “It’s at this time of year that risks facing lone workers typically increase, because of the darker morning/nights and worsening weather. Lone workers should be careful wherever they are, but street based risks in particular can be significant.
“Workers should be aware of their environment, avoid openly using smart phones or tablets as these may put the worker more at risk of robbery. Employers should also make sure workers are protected with a discreet, BS8484 approved security solution.”