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News

Lone worker protection for Midlands tram operator.

Connexion2 : 29 February, 2008  (Application Story)
Shift workers operating public transport system in the Midlands benefit from the protection offered by Identicom lone worker systems.
Dedicated to taking an active stance against verbal and physical abuse towards its staff, Travel Midland Metro has equipped its tram conductors with Identicom, a technically advanced system for lone worker protection. The tram conductors are now using a total of 25 Identicom units on a shift basis.

The Identicom units being used by Travel Midland Metro have been supplied by Bold Communications, the UK's leading solutions provider of alarm monitoring systems. Resembling a normal ID holder, but packed with the latest mobile phone technology, Identicom not only enables the lone worker to discreetly raise an alarm if threatened, but also allows a third party to listen to what is happening and record events whatever the distance.

"When a conductor books-on he is issued with an Identicom unit and when another conductor takes over from him he takes over the Identicom", said Mark Ashmore, Health and Safety Manager at Travel Midland Metro. "Our biggest problem is verbal abuse from fare dodgers. With Identicom we are able to capture the evidence, which can be used in conjunction with our CCTV cameras to get abusive passengers banned from the tramway system".

Although Identicom looks like a standard ID holder its innovative technology is all contained unobtrusively within the unit. The device includes a lanyard attachment that enables it to be worn around the neck as a standard ID and hides a 'rip alarm' function, which is triggered if the unit is forcibly removed from the wearer.
At Travel Midland Metro's headquarters in the Metro Centre, Wednesbury, the company has its own police station manned by British Transport Police who provide 24-hour cover for the metro system. Also located at the Metro Centre is a call centre, which monitors the Identicom units from its own control room using Bold's Identicom monitoring software. If a worker feels threatened they discreetly push an alarm button, which sends a call for help to a monitoring centre. Any exchange between the worker and an assailant is also recorded, providing valuable, admissible evidence if a case is brought to court.

"Technology can never entirely eradicate risk, but Identicom provides peace of mind for our staff who use it to supplement good lone work practices", concluded Mark Ashmore.

Opened in 1999, the Metro is the first street tramway to run in the West Midlands for over 40 years. There are 23 tram stops along the route, which stretches 20.13 kilometres from Birmingham Snow Hill to Wolverhampton St George's. Midland Metro runs a fleet of 16 trams, on a frequent timetable, 7 days a week from early in the morning to late in the evening.
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