According to a 2017 Crime Report Survey, a hundred and fifty lone workers are attacked at work every day. It shines a shocking light on workplace violence in the lone working industry. The responsibility is on employers and businesses to mitigate risks against their workers and to make sure they know the correct personal safety procedures. Here’s the conundrum: how can employers monitor and manage those risks if they don’t know about them in the first place?
Under-reporting of violence against lone workers
Verbal and physical abuse, dealing with intruders, threats and sexual harassment: all these things are becoming increasingly common for lone workers. However, a worrying number of workers are under-reporting acts of violence against them to their employers. It can be an accepted view that it’s ‘part of the job’ (it’s not!) and that even if an incident is reported to management, nothing will be done. As one anonymous lone worker says: “You can feel like you’re out of sight and out of mind.” It’s easy to see how a vicious circle can start. Data collected from incident reports can be taken into account in risk assessments and risk controls. However, without the correct information, companies can fail to act. Or even worse, end up putting resources and support into the wrong places. Lone working staff can then feel more disillusioned and even less likely to report incidents.
Making lone workers feel safe again
Safe Hub is designed to deal with the issue of under-reporting of violence against lone workers. Reactive, proactive, providing emergency service and buddy support, Safe Hub makes it easy for workers to protect themselves against acts of aggression and record vital data. Our Red Alert feature will summon help from the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) at the touch of a button or the swipe of a screen. It also preempts risk and can be used as a virtual buddy. An ARC operative can stay on the phone with a lone worker if they feel at risk and provide an ‘active listening’ service should the lone worker be unable to respond. All calls are recorded and are admissible in a court of law in the situation of prosecution of assault against a lone worker.
Then you have Safe Check: a periodic welfare ‘check in’ system directly managed by the lone worker. They confirm their wellbeing by replying to automated prompts at set time intervals. Each team member can select and amend the intervals to suit their own working practices. In the event a worker doesn’t respond, is the issue is flagged at the ARC, and the correct escalation process is then triggered. Using Safe Hub could lead to a drastic drop in the under-reporting of violence against lone workers.
Both Red Alert and Safe Check are on our Safe Hub app, which supports all smartphones and conventional mobile devices. Both features are available on wearable devices such as SOS Fob and SOS Button. They are discreet and durable and can be worn on the wrist, hung around the neck as a lanyard or worn on a clip. The new SOS ID Badge Alarm is a powerful safety alarm that doubles up as an ID badge. All are effective safety measures for NHS staff, who are reporting the highest level of acts of violence against them for five years*
Providing support and training
Our safety devices enable the worker to have autonomy and independence, but they also offer vital two-way support, making it easy for lone workers to report any acts of aggression against them. Our dedicated account management team also provide unparalleled backup and training over the course of any contract. Don’t suffer in silence – let’s work together to stop under-reporting of acts of violence against lone workers and make sure they go to work feeling safe and supported.
More ways to tackle under-reporting acts of violence against lone workers
Create a strong policy. A strong policy against workplace violence should state that the organisation is committed to providing a workplace free from violence and harassment. Update your handbook and ensure the policy is consistent with employment laws and distribute to the entire workforce. Try to make sure the language is as natural to read and accessible as possible!
Communication. Once you have a policy in place, it is essential that you communicate it to your team. Training sessions should be set up to present the plan, allowing staff to ask questions.
Training. Ensure regular training is delivered to train staff how to assess risks and how to respond to aggressive behaviour against them. Also making sure they are aware of the correct procedures to go through when reporting incidents.
* Read more about the NHS violence reduction strategy here.
Contact Lone Worker Solutions and the Safe Hub team today
Post by George Stavrinidis
George is Chief Executive Officer of Lone Worker Solutions (LWS). He believes passionately that everyone should be protected and supported at work. George supports LWS clients to make sure they enjoy the most effective relationship with the team and maximise the effectiveness of their deployment of Safe Hub.