Growing demand for lone worker protection on UK rail network
11 April 2014 • Author(s): James Kelly, Chief Executive of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA)
More than six million people in the UK work either in isolation or without the safety net provided by direct supervision, often in places or circumstances that put them at potential risk. In the transport sector, lone workers often include ticket office and platform staff, train managers, engineers and delivery drivers. For European Railway Review, James Kelly, Chief Executive of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) discusses how there is an increased need for lone worker protection on mainline railways.
Almost by definition, lone working can be both intimidating and at times dangerous, so the protection of lone workers involves a twofold approach; not only to provide safeguards but also to offer reassurance to the individuals involved.
Providing vulnerable employees with a mechanism to call for help if they feel threatened should be a key element of a company’s health and safety policy, and also provides reassurance that employers are fulfilling their duty of care. The UK’s private security industry has been working with the police and end-users in order to develop a combination of practice, technology and standards capable of providing an effective solution to the risks that lone workers face.
The development of technology and practice in the field has focused on encouraging and enabling lone workers to assess the risks they might be facing and provide them with the means both to summon aid in an emergency and collect information that can be used in evidence, if necessary. This has led to the creation of lone worker devices equipped with mobile phone technology that connect employees quickly and discreetly with an emergency response system that has direct links to the police. A number of products are commercially available from BSIA member companies, ranging from applications on smartphones to dedicated GPS/GSM Lone Worker devices.