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Safeguarding lone workers in government and education

Just a few public sector organisations who have deployed Safe Hub

Lone working in government and education

Incorporating: public administration, defence and social security, and education

 

At first glance, it may not seem as if many in the government and education sector work alone, remotely or out-of-sight of colleagues. But there are plenty of roles where the sector’s employees may find themselves working alone frequently or just occasionally. In schools, while maintenance and caretaking staff often work out-of-sight of colleagues, teachers may stay behind late to write a lesson plan.

 

Staff at an elected representative’s constituency office may occasionally work alone preparing documents, especially during election campaigns. For council workers providing frontline services, there can also be risks associated with working alone with the public.

 

Safe Hub is here to support all such staff – whether lone working is a regular feature of their jobs, or a rare occurrence.

Public Sector G-Cloud 11

From education to local councils

 

Lone Worker Solutions is an approved supplier to the public sector through the G-Cloud 11 digital services procurement framework. Safe Hub, our secure managed lone worker protection system meets the standards required by public sector bodies and is already deployed across a number of UK councils. In addition, we are accredited under the Cyber Essentials scheme and to international standard ISO 27001. All our services are backed by our 24×7 technical support.

Violence and aggression faced by elected officals

Lone workers supporting elected officials are especially at risk

 

In the UK, members of parliament now have dedicated support from the police when they are in London. The Metropolitan Police’s parliamentary liaison and investigations team was set up in August 2016 after the tragic murder of the Labour MP Jo Cox. However, when they and their staff are at their constituency offices across the UK, they may not have such direct access to the emergency services. Indeed, the UK general election in 2017 proved that physical attacks do take place, as well as threats of violence made via social media.

 

Parliamentary staff, government interns and local council staff all have a responsibility to work directly with the public. But that interaction is often at anti-social times and in challenging circumstances. Simply working late in the office can present risks, which increase for those staff in constituency offices in remote locations. Systems such as Safe Hub can provide valuable support to workers in such situations. Apps and devices that offer discreet ways of summoning emergency help are essential. Red Alert's 'Virtual Buddy' function can be particularly useful for staff in public-facing roles.

Safe Hub scenario: trading standards officer

Working for a borough council

Many of the risks for trading standards officers are around travel. Each working day, this employee will visit different sites to carry out inspections or serve notices. Whether using their own car or public transport, this carries its own risks. And when they deal with clients who are in breach of regulations, they may face non-compliance – or worse.

Safe Hub's emergency Red Alert feature is a vital tool to protect workers in this situation. By triggering a Red Alert, the trading standards officer is in direct contact with the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). Safe Hub will use GPS to identify the worker's location, allowing highly-trained ARC operatives to direct the police straight to the worker's location as quickly as possible.

The trading standards officer will also benefit from Yellow Alert, which lets users leave a recording with information about site visits. And with Safe Check, our periodic welfare feature, they will also get proactive support.

Half of teachers face aggression

Incidents of violence at schools in the UK are reported to be on the rise. The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) surveyed over 1,500 teachers in state schools on pupil behaviour in 2014.

 

More than half of teachers had faced aggression from pupils in the previous year, and over a quarter had experienced it from parents or carers. Even if most such incidents occur when there are other staff members on site, they may still be out of sight. Safe Hub can provide teachers with discreet access to emergency help if they need it.

School support staff face threats too

The problem of attacks in UK schools is not restricted to teachers, as support staff are also under threat. According to research by the trade union GMB in 2017, 54% of teaching assistants have been physically abused, assaulted or attacked at work. And 18% of assistants polled say they are attacked at least once a week, with almost a quarter also saying they are verbally abused.

 

Teaching assistants are rarely alone within the working day, but may be alone when retrieving their car or accessing transport. Safe Hub can provide a vital source of proactive support to deal with such scenarios.

Garry Fisher, Essex County Council's  Corporate Health & Safety Manager said "Protection systems like this can't prevent a problem from occurring. But when something goes wrong, it is immensely comforting for staff to know that if they press the button, someone will be listening; they know that you are in trouble, and they know where you."

Essex County Council

From trading standards officers to isolated librarians

Essex County Council (ECC) is one of the UK's biggest councils employing approximately 9,000 staff. Roles with a particularly high-risk profile include those where staff work directly with residents and businesses such as trading standards officers, social workers, park wardens, officers who make site visits, and even librarians in some of the smaller facilities across the county. Many of these team members are often in isolated locations, use potentially hazardous machinery, or face aggressive and violent behaviour from the public.

 

ECC identified all the staff roles that included a lone-working component, conducted a risk assessment, and established a health and safety profile for each one. They then established a working group as a sub-division of the Health & Safety Board, to review existing procedures and consider future options, selecting Safe Hub as their prefered personal safety device.

About Lone Worker Solutions

Safe Hub, from Lone Worker Solutions, is an award-winning locate-and-respond protection system for people who work alone or out of sight of colleagues. It offers a comprehensive package of features including GPS locate, emergency, buddy, reactive, proactive, broadcast and virtual barrier protection for all lone working scenarios.

 

Safe Hub supports the broadest possible array of devices including Android, Apple and Windows smartphones, BlackBerry, standard mobiles, PCs, intrinsically safe devices, specialist lone working safety devices and satellite phones.

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