G4S urges companies to provide greater protection for lone workers

G4S Monitoring & Response Services (‘G4S’), part of G4S Secure Solutions (UK), is advising companies to ensure that they have the correct health and safety measures in place to mitigate the risks faced by staff who are deployed alone.

This warning comes on the back of research by G4S(1) which reveals that a high proportion of companies are not taking the necessary measures to ensure the safety of their staff, with an estimated 38 instances of employees being attacked or threatened each year whilst working alone at a typical medium-to-large sized company(2).

Indeed, two thirds (66%) of companies questioned admitted to not having put in place new measures and procedures designed to protect lone workers since the Corporate Manslaughter Act was introduced in 2007. Less than a third of respondents (29%) said they were confident that their organisation had taken all possible health and safety steps to avoid future prosecution under the Corporate Manslaughter Act.

The research also showed that, based on an average-sized company employing just under 4,000 individuals, 27% of employees work alone as part of their remit. Of this number, it was estimated that almost 4% of staff would be physically assaulted or threatened every year.

When asked about the measures taken to protect their staff whilst working alone, over half (54%) stated that they performed a risk assessment of potential trouble spots. Other popular measures included regular status updates by telephone (43%) and the use GPS or other tracking services (17%). One in seven (14%) of respondents stated that they felt it was up to their employees to take the necessary measures required to ensure their safety whilst patrolling.

Mark Wakeford, Managing Director of G4S Monitoring & Response Services said: “With the Corporate Manslaughter Act having been in force for a number of years it is alarming to see so many companies failing to adapt their management systems to fully protect themselves and their staff against the risks associated with lone worker deployment.

“Lone worker security deployment can provide a cost and resource-effective solution to complement pre-existing security systems. It is vital for employers to ensure the safety of these employees by keeping their health and safety management systems under review in line with the Corporate Manslaughter Act. Failure to do so could result in fines, remedial orders or publicity orders.

“While it is good to see that the majority of companies do have a formal mechanism in place to enable employees to report any workplace attacks against them, it is important for employers to remember that they have always had a duty of care for their staff and with the introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007 and a tightening of associated Health and Safety Legislation, organisations need to continuously review and update the support arrangements they put in place for their lone workers.”

G4S provides a comprehensive lone worker managed service which includes a range of market –leading devices, with features including real time active tracking, man-down, and time-based alerts. We help our customers by conducting a comprehensive risk assessment to determine the best and most cost effective ways of enabling companies to comply with legislation and their duty of care as an employer. The G4S service ensures at-risk personnel across the UK are protected and monitored 24 hours a day, from G4S’s accredited(3) Incident Management Centre.

This service is backed up by its 24/7 specialist lone worker trained telephone operators who are continuously monitoring and responding to alarm activations from individuals in distress.

The G4S solution uses the latest advances in technology and tracks workers using GPS signalling, raising an alarm if an exception event occurs. The technology also provides valuable work force management information with an emergency response to be deployed quickly and accurately if required.

G4S Website