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Worcestershire Housing Associations Protect Staff With Peoplesafe

Rocksure Systems : 13 January, 2011  (Application Story)
Peoplesafe has deployed the Identicom lone worker protection solution for the protection of operational staff at two housing associations operating in the UK county of Worcestershire
Two housing associations responsible for thousands of homes in the Worcestershire area have teamed up with lone worker safety expert Peoplesafe to protect frontline staff.


Worcestershire’s biggest landlords Worcester Community Housing (WCH) and the Rooftop Housing Group  have equipped workers with discreet alarms disguised as identity card holders. 


As well as the two Worcestershire housing associations, Peoplesafe has a long portfolio with housing associations across the UK and is committed to helping social housing staff through the current difficult times by boosting confidence among high risk employees.


The Identicom device allows workers to perform a ‘safe and well’ check and has a ‘red alert’ button which opens an audio channel to Peoplesafe’s 24-hour monitoring centre if they are faced with verbal or physical violence.  The device has a GPS option allowing the user’s location to be instantly pinpointed.  The device can also include a ‘man down’ motion sensor which raises the alarm if the Identicom is immobilised or subject to an impact.


WCH, which has a total workforce of 180, has 70 Identicoms in operation.  Community wardens, trades operatives, income recovery staff and allocations managers have been issued with the device while pool units are available for office-based staff making occasional unaccompanied visits.  


Nina Chinery, Head of Supported Housing, said:  “Our previous system involved using a mobile phone where staff entered a PIN number and a time limited period. This was not actively monitored and an alert would only be raised if the employee failed to ‘log off’. 


“We needed to respond to the concerns of our lone working staff and their unions. The Peoplesafe units provide a discreet arrangement which give our staff confidence in that they can call for help, if they need it, at any time of the day or night.  Staff feel much safer now knowing they have an immediate ability to access help if they encounter a problem.”


Bob Callaghan, Facilities, Health and Safety Manager at the Rooftop Housing Group, said with recent expansion of the business the company had renewed their contract with Peoplesafe and increased the number of devices in operation because of the company’s excellent service and the high usage of the devices among their staff.


He commented:  “Increasingly we find that members of our workforce are operating away from their desk and at irregular times. The range of staff we have using the Identicoms includes housing officers to community liaison coordinators and building inspectors. In fact, even our group chief executive has a unit.


“Feedback from staff has always been positive with the main impact being the feeling of safety and security. Identicoms give them the confidence to enter unsupervised areas and deal with potentially difficult situations. Our experience is that our residents and other members of the public also respond positively to the units. Seeing our staff wearing them actually provides them with a feeling of security as well. We wouldn’t send any of our lone workers anywhere without them and they have proved a great help in enabling us to fulfil our duty of care to our employees.”


Legislative rulings such as the Corporate Manslaughter Act 2008 mean that employers have a legal responsibility for ensuring the safety of staff.  Peoplesafe is one of the UK’s providers of simple and lightweight lone worker safety equipment and monitoring.  Unlike many of its competitors, it operates independently of any device manufacturer, instead offering services tailor-made to individual needs.


Peoplesafe can integrate its unique software into PDAs, BlackBerrys and smartphones including the Sonim XP3 Sentinel – the world’s most rugged mobile phone.   All Peoplesafe’s products fully comply with the British Standard 8484 code of practice for the provision of lone worker device services.  In addition, Peoplesafe’s holistic approach means it can also offer individual risk assessments, training and legal guidance.


Ian Johannessen, Managing Director of Peoplesafe, said:   “We recognise the important role that housing associations play in our communities.  We are very pleased to be working with these two major landlords in the Worcestershire area to provide a technical solution to ensure the safety of their staff and help them meet their employers’ duty of care.” 
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