Have you taken enough measures to protect your lone workers?
According to the 2018 British Safety Council’s crime survey, more than 54,750 lone workers are attacked in the UK annually. The numbers have now worsened over the years. The attacks on lone workers include both physical and verbal.
If we look at the UK security industry, security guards are twice as vulnerable to workplace injuries than other professionals. If they work alone in high-risk areas, they may suffer from violence, accidents, or sudden illness. Therefore, being an employer, you must take steps to protect lone security guards.
In this article, we will discuss the importance of lone worker protection for lone workers and investigate a few ways security companies can ensure the safety of their guards.
So, let’s get started!
Who is a Lone Worker?
A lone worker refers to an employee who works alone away from the traditional office and is not visible to another worker. The term “lone worker” is mainly used for field officers that often go to remote sites to do their jobs. They may include:
- Security guards
- Healthcare professionals
- Social workers
- Maintenance staff
- Cleaning staff
How Does Lone Work Affect Security Guards?
The UK’s private security industry has employed more than 218,200 security guards. Most of these security guards spend most of their professional tasks alone. Hence, lone workers are at significant risk of accidents, injury, and emergencies.
A recent study by Working the Door revealed that nearly 90% of security professionals in the UK have been physically attacked at least once in their careers. Among them, about 4% of security guards were attacked every time they were deployed at service areas.
Some of the risks lone security guards are vulnerable to include the following:
- Violent attacks with weapons
- Verbal aggression
- Manhandling from crowd
- Accidental injury
- Sexual harassment
- Sudden illness
- Environmental hazards
- Accidental injury
Keeping Lone Workers Safe in the Security Industry
Managing lone workers’ safety is a challenge for employers. Below are proven strategies for security companies to ensure the protection of their lone workers:
1. Conduct Lone Worker Risk Assessment
As an employer, you must look for long-term solutions. Start by identifying lone security guards’ challenges while doing their jobs. Based on your findings, devise control measures to deliver your expected results.
For this purpose, conduct a comprehensive risk assessment. Start with common risks such as physical attacks, workplace stress and mental stability, health emergencies, and road accidents. Similarly, consider accidental slips, trips, and falls that could result in fatal injuries.
Talk to your managers or security officers often deployed in high-risk areas for even better outcomes. Besides, review their workplace condition before making the final decision.
2. Develop Lone Worker Safety Policy
Once the initial risk assessment is complete, it’s time to use the findings to develop a safety policy. This is an essential document for your security company. It will serve as a practical guide to protect your lone security guards.
While writing your policy, include provisions that empower your security officers to take ownership of their safety. Make sure they are prepared to respond to emergencies. Provide them with essential skills, knowledge, and tools to mitigate security threats effectively.
Additionally, define job roles and responsibilities for your lone security staff. Spread awareness about common risks and train them to implement emergency response plans.
3. Train Your Security Officers
No matter how compelling your lone worker safety policy is. The success of your plans shall be determined by the manner in which they are executed. And when we talk about effective implementation, your lone security guards must take responsibility first.
Therefore, ensure your team realizes they are the first line of defense against workplace risks. Give them extensive safety training to protect themselves. Hire professional trainers with experience in lone worker safety protection.
There is no fixed curriculum for safety training. However, lone workers should know how to conduct dynamic risk assessments and complete safety check-ins. Similarly, train them to de-escalate conflicts and report workplace incidents like near-misses and workplace hazards. If possible, offer basic first-aid care training for health and safety.
4. Supervise Lone Workers with Modern Technology
Lone worker supervision is a crucial stage of lone security guard protection. This is where your role as an employer or security supervisor comes in. You get the opportunity to use your leadership and workforce management skills to meet your employees’ needs.
Technology is the best way to monitor your lone security guards. Cloud-based workforce management software has advanced features like automated control room management for lone workers’ safety. The system makes automated welfare checks to confirm lone workers’ safety. If the check calls are missed two to three times, the system alerts the admin, who can intervene for timely action.
Another essential feature of HR software is patrolling management. It allows security managers to track the real-time location of security guards and access their patrolling history. Similarly, lone security guards can report workplace incidents anytime and record check-ins and check-outs with the mobile app. Automation keeps managers informed and contributes to the overall wellness of security teams.
5. Build an Emergency Response Mechanism
You have identified potential risks, developed a safety policy, trained your lone security officers, and implemented technology for supervision. However, what would be your response in case of an emergency? How would you ensure the safety of your lone staff sitting hundreds of kilometers from their site?
An emergency response mechanism, therefore, is essential for extensive protection. Designate critical roles and persons responsible for solving the issues reported by lone workers. Outline key steps to be taken in case of an emergency. Arrange logistics, transportation, and similar facilities for a prompt response.
Lastly, appoint qualified professionals to respond to security emergencies effectively. Maintain consistent communication with lone workers to ensure their safety and achieve your desired goals.
Lone workers are always at significant risk, particularly in the security industry. Employers must take essential steps to protect these employees and comply with lone worker safety regulations.
We discussed proven strategies to protect lone security guards from potential security threats in this context. Companies should start by conducting a risk assessment plan to identify risks lone workers face. Based on these findings, a safety policy should be developed and implemented. Training security guards is also necessary for better results. The last step is lone worker supervision, which can be done using cloud-based workforce management software.
If implemented successfully, these plans can boost staff morale and increase overall productivity. Besides, employers can deliver quality results and retain a talented workforce.