With European Health and safety week taking place in October, Director of Manpower and Membership Services, Trevor Elliott, discusses the British Security Industry Association’s (BSIA) strong commitment to promoting the importance of health and safety, both relating to security personnel and to our industry’s valued customers.
“Health and safety of front line workers has been thrown into the forefront of public discussion recently, with a report  from the Greater London Authority Conservatives (GLAC) indicating that a chilling sixty-six thousand frontline workers have been punched, kicked, spat on and even murdered whilst undertaking work-related duties.
“According to the GLAC report, over 400 attacks occur every week on doctors, nurses, cabbies and receptionists. Assaults against security guards were also highlighted as an ongoing issue.
“Front line workers often fall into the category of ‘lone workers’, whether working the night shift, travelling within the wider community or managing an area alone; for example, hospital wards. According to the UK Health and Safety Executive, a lone worker is: “Someone who works by themselves or without close or direct supervision” . Figures from the BSIA suggest that “over six million people in the UK work either in isolation or without direct supervision, often in places or circumstances that put them at potential risk.” 
“The BSIA’s Lone Worker section reflected on the importance of protecting healthcare employees from risk earlier this year, following the release of NHS security figures which revealed a shocking 5.8% rise in physical violence against health service staff between 2012 and 2013. Patrick Dealtry, Chairman of the BSIA’s Lone Worker Section commented: “With staff facing an increased risk of physical assault on a day-to-day basis, employers across the healthcare sector should be committed to the development and implementation of a comprehensive lone worker protection policy, to protect their employees and the organisation at large.”
“More recently, the BSIA has been taking the first steps towards uniting its members to galvanise their strong commitment to health and safety into positive action. The establishment of a dedicated forum bringing together members’ Health and Safety representatives and enable the sharing of best practice is key to this move, and this proposal has been welcomed by BSIA members.
“In a recent survey exploring demand for such a group, 93% of respondents expressed a keen interest in participating in the BSIA’s Health and Safety Forum. Indeed, violence in the workplace was among the top three issues that potential members of the forum would seek to address, alongside workplace accidents and preventative measures.
“Receiving updates on the latest legislation relating to health and safety was also deemed a top priority. The Association already operates a very active HR Forum, and it is hoped that the Health and Safety Forum will prove equally successful in uniting member company representatives with a common focus.”
 Greater London Authority Conservatives report, “Risky Business: Protecting Frontline Workers from Attack whilst on Duty” http://glaconservatives.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/risky-business.pdf
 See the Health and Safety Executive website: http://www.hse.gov.uk/violence/loneworkers.htm
 See the BSIA website: http://www.bsia.co.uk/lone-workers
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