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Trading standards officers protected by Identicare

Argyll : 30 August, 2007  (Application Story)
Cornwall's animal health officers protected from working in remote, lonely locations by the Identicare lone worker system
When an Animal Health Officer from Cornwall County Council Trading Standards Service, was attacked whilst on a site visit to a farm with a veterinary surgeon, they decided to review their lone worker protection. Now it has purchased Identicare as part of an integrated lone worker solution from Argyll, the UK's market leader in mobile personnel monitoring.

Trading Standards is a law enforcement agency, which has an impact on practically all aspects of life, from the safety of children's toys to the honesty of property descriptions when buying a home. Trading Standards investigate 'clocked' cars and the welfare of farm animals. Whether the consumer is buying a loaf of bread, a pint of beer or arranging credit, the department is responsible for ensuring that sales are fair and legal.

As many of Cornwall's Trading Standards and Animal Health Officers work from home, safety procedures relied on them phoning the office when they returned home or filling in a computer diary so that colleagues would know their movements. Following the incident at the farm, Cornwall Trading Standards Service decided to investigate products that would enable personnel to discreetly raise the alarm if threatened or in the event of an accident.

Various lone worker alarm technologies were evaluated culminating in the Identicare package being selected following positive feedback from users. Cornwall Trading Standards Service has now purchased a total of 21 Identicare units, which are now being used by its officers.

"Our Animal Health Officers regularly go to farms and markets to enforce animal licensing and welfare, whilst our Trading Standard Officers can find themselves in potentially dangerous situations when enforcing the law, or responding to a complaint," said David Phillips, Head of Service at Cornwall Trading Standards. "Argyll's Identicare was chosen for its simplicity of pricing, ease of use and its 24/7 monitoring centre".

When an employee feels they are entering a hazardous situation, they press an amber alert button, which notifies Argyll's monitoring centre. In this way, the monitoring centre is able to note the wearer's location and raise the alarm if the amber alert is not cancelled within a predetermined period. If the red alert is then pressed the centres' support staff can discreetly listen in to what is happening and make an assessment as to the level of support required- involving the police if necessary. In the event of a verbal confrontation, the Centre can also record the conversation for future action.

Argyll is providing Cornwall Trading Standards Service with a total solutions package that includes the Identicare unit, operator response, tracking, training and configuration with the most appropriate mobile network and ongoing support.

"Argyll's Identicare service has proven to be a reliable and cost effective means of support for our officers", said Richard Bunt ICT Support Officer, "Both our Trading Standard and Animal Health Officers now have that extra degree of confidence when entering a potentially volatile situation".

Over 17,000 users successfully operate Argyll's lone worker solutions across the UK in a diverse range of organisations that includes the NHS, charities, local authorities, housing associations and commercial organisations. The service is suitable for anyone working remotely from their office base and facing potential safety risks during the course of their normal working day. It enables employers to meet the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, which specifies that employers must identify potential hazards, assess the risks involved and put measures in place to avoid or control the risks associated with lone workers.
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