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Terror in the workplace: When the worst happens, how do you know your people are safe?

Businesses are increasingly facing a growing number of large-scale incidents that can affect the well-being of their employees and the organisation’s ability to operate. In the aftermath of a terror attack or other disaster situation, the failure to prepare and respond effectively leaves the business and its employees vulnerable, and will considerably prolong an incident – costing valuable time and resources in the process.

While many of us plan and prepare for the practical side of disaster management, the questions around our team members’ safety are arguably the most difficult to address. Yet with our most important assets being our people, is there is more that we can and should be doing to protect them in the event of an incident?

Rising threat levels

The type of incidents businesses face could vary greatly depending on a number of factors; from geography and the work environment to individual ways of working and the job roles performed. Some examples include;

Natural disasters: Storms, earthquakes, floods and natural fires

Manmade events: Fires, plane crashes, public transport disruption and road incidents

Criminal activities: Terrorism, shootings, riots and vandalism

Business continuity issues: Power outages, water or gas leaks and cyber attacks

Just this month we have seen several large-scale incidents around the world. In Colorado, wildfires have displaced thousands of individuals from their homes and places of work, while 600 homes in Hawaii have been destroyed by lava following a volcanic eruption. Elsewhere, in the UK the threat of terror attacks remains ‘severe’, violent crime consumes the media, and extreme storms around much of the world have caused power outages, flooding and general disruption.

Climate change experts predict an increase in natural disasters with warmer temperatures and high tides resulting in more flooding, droughts, wildfires and hurricanes. Coupled with the increase in population and development over a wider geography, more and more lives are being affected each year.

The number of terrorist attacks has also risen in recent years. In 2016, 77 countries were affected by terrorism, while Europe experienced the greatest increase. Data revealed that there were 30 attacks in Western Europe in 2016 compared to 23 in 2015, 2 in 2014 and 5 in 2013.

Such incidents are beyond our control and often take us by surprise. Businesses that once faced few large-scale threats are seeing an increasing number of events happening around them. Plus, with an increasingly varied and mobile workforce, locating staff and managing the effects of an incident has become even more unpredictable and difficult for businesses to contain.

Managing employees during an incident

Perhaps the first step and the greatest challenge in the aftermath of an incident is locating employees who could be affected and ensuring their safety.

As more organisations turn towards less traditional ways of operating, such as utilising remote and lone workers, manual methods are no longer a viable solution. Calling employees individually is much too time-consuming during a time-critical situation, and missing a call leaves both the employee and the employer in the dark.

Fortunately, developments in technology and the widespread use of mobile devices today are providing solutions to many of our incident management challenges. Whether it be warning individuals of a nearby incident, providing peace of mind for friends, family and employers, or communicating practical advice necessary to keep safe, technology is able to offer a solution.

But how can technology provide a way for businesses with a large and varied workforce to locate and protect their employees?

Introducing IncidentEye

At StaySafe we have recently launched a new app called IncidentEye, which has been specifically designed to help organisations locate and protect employees as quickly and effectively as possible during an emergency. IncidentEye allows you to quickly answer the most important questions a business faces in the aftermath of an event; are my employees in the affected area and are they safe?

The IncidentEye app can be distributed via MDM; from the Apple Apps Store or Google Play and lays dormant on an employee’s phone until an incident is activated in the hub. Using geofencing, the affected area can be isolated on a map and all employees within the vicinity will be immediately alerted via the app with details of the event and prompted to specify whether they are safe or in danger. This enables you to focus on the employees who need assistance, with no disruption for unaffected staff.

IncidentEye maintains privacy by notifying employees whenever their location is collected. Location data should only ever be used for safety purposes which is maintained through a fair use policy and the inability to view location without employee knowledge.

When an incident is active, monitors can view employees’ safety status in real time and respond accordingly. In-app messages can be sent to the affected individuals or groups of individuals, with crucial information. For example, you may choose to;

  • Instruct those in the affected area to evacuate
  • Warn those nearby to avoid the affected area
  • Provide official government advice on how to deal with the situation
  • Update employees as the incident progresses and once it is resolved

Ultimately, IncidentEye provides a way for businesses to continue to run as smoothly as possible by accounting for all employees and focusing support where it is needed most. Having a reliable and efficient solution in place not only provides peace of mind for the business but for the workforce as a whole.

With IncidentEye, businesses are able to locate and protect their employees when an incident occurs, better meet their duty of care and ensure that the organisation can recover quickly and effectively following a disaster.

For more information visit our incident management page.

For a personalised demo and pricing please contact us.

Protecting Lone Workers from sexual harassment in the workplace

Sexual harassment in the workplace can take many forms and is shockingly more common than we realise, equally impacting both men and women.

Statistics show that 83 million people have experienced sexual harassment from the age of 15, with 50% of women and 20% of men experiencing sexual harassment at work. Despite these shocking statistics, many more instances of sexual harassment in the workplace still go unnoticed, unreported and subsequently, unresolved.

Forms of sexual harassment

Sexual harassment can range from mild to more extreme forms and can be written, verbal and physical. These range from unwanted comments and discrimination, emails with sexual content, sexual advances, intimidation, unwanted physical contact and assault. All forms should be taken equally as seriously and dealt with immediately by employers.

 Heightened Risks

Although sexual harassment can occur at any time and in any location, there is a greater risk to lone working employees, particularly when working late, out of hours and often out of sight where signalling for help can be challenging.

Lone workers are also at high risk when undertaking visits behind closed-doors, where they could face volatile behaviour and aggression from clients, tenants and abusive members of the public. Commonly, roles which involve lone workers visiting homes without any attendance include; care workers, charity workers, family officers, NHS staff, surveyors and real estate workers.

There are also lone workers who are required to deal with members of the public under the influence of alcohol and drugs or suffering from emotional issues which can cause a change in behaviour. Without the appropriate care and training, individuals can be left particularly vulnerable in one on one situations.

Consequences of sexual harassment

  • Stress reaction including anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, lowered self-esteem and more
  • Poor company morale
  • Less productivity in staff
  • Creates an environment for sexual harassment to flourish
  • Lawsuits

By violating the dignity of a worker, sexual harassment can ultimately create an environment of an intimidating, hostile and degrading nature.

What can be done?

Sadly, many cases of sexual harassment go unreported due to workers feeling unable to challenge or defend themselves against the perpetrator if they are in fact a client. As a result, as much as 53% of women and 69% of men did not report sexual harassment at work.

Cases of sexual harassment may not be reported by staff if they do not feel confident that there is substantial support from their company put in place, creating a barrier for them to take action.

The effects of sexual harassment are monumental and even as little as one instance can have detrimental knock-on consequences to both the company and their staff if not investigated properly and dealt with. Therefore, this is why it is so important to educate and train your staff.

Educating and training staff can be achieved through a strong Sexual Harassment policy to ensure the workplace is free of discrimination.  Training sessions should also be arranged for employers to ask questions and be as informed as possible on the matter in order to provide reassurance and instil confidence so that they can be prepared and take the necessary response if faced with this situation.

As an employer, you should seek to have a work environment that is understanding and sympathetic to all employees, including dynamic risk assessment training to evaluate risks and how to overcome them.

You should also make it clear who to report incidents of sexual harassment to and reinforce the idea that employees experiences will be taken seriously.

Lone Worker Safety Solution

A safety solution in the form of an app should be highly considered, as it enables a lone worker to signal for help even in difficult situations. This kind of solution can reassure both the company and their staff by providing accurate and reliable safety monitoring through alert functionality and location updates.

Duress alert

If an employee feels threatened whilst working remotely or otherwise, they can raise an alarm secretly and unknown to their attacker by inputting a special duress PIN. This will fool the attacker into thinking the app has been disabled when in fact a duress alert has been raised in the Hub and help can be sent immediately.

Discreet panic

Generated by pressing the phones power button, a user can raise a panic alert swiftly and discreetly from a hidden area, such as a bag or pocket.

Wearable device

The StaySafe app can even be paired with a bluetooth button which can be attached to a lanyard, clothing or worn around the wrist, and used send a panic alert without touching their phone.

While safety measures, policies and training are essential in protecting employees from sexual harassment and assault, a lone worker app is a reliable way of ensuring a lone worker is never completely alone.

Three Reasons to Invest in Lone Worker Safety

It is currently estimated that 22% of the working population can be considered lone workers. With increasing pressures on businesses to enhance profits and productivity, and an increase in automation and new technologies, this number continues to grow year on year.

While lone working allows organisations to operate in a more efficient manner, it brings with it a new set of health and safety challenges. Lone workers are more vulnerable to the risks of violence, abuse, accident and injury since any risks they face, are faced alone.

But should organisations be taking extra care when protecting their lone working staff? This guide outlines three business reasons why you should take lone worker safety seriously; legal, moral and financial.

Read more

The hidden costs of poor health & safety

When discussing the costs associated with poor workplace health and safety, direct costs such as fines and legal costs tend to take centre stage. While fines given to a business following a safety failing are designed to have a significant impact on the business, there are a multitude of ‘hidden costs’ that many forget to consider. Yet these hidden costs can also have a significant, and in many cases, ongoing financial impact on the business.

Read more

Managing and Monitoring Remote Workers

A remote worker is anyone who works away from a fixed work base, such as an office or work site. Remote workers may work in small groups or on their own, and their roles are likely to require travel to different locations.

Typical jobs requiring remote working include:

  • Comunity and mental health workers
  • Mobile mortgage managers and business bankers
  • Travelling salespeople
  • Insurance assessors
  • Field service engineers
  • Maintenance/repairmen
  • Surveyors
  • Landscapers

Read more

Lone Worker Monitoring Service

Lone worker monitoring

Lone worker monitoring refers to the practice of monitoring the safety of employees who work alone or out of sight and sound of colleagues.

There are a number of systems that can be used to monitor work alone employees, many of which will use a method of check-in, and in some cases, location tracking and emergency alerts.

Read more

Three Reasons to Invest in Lone Worker Safety

It is estimated that 22% of today’s working population can be considered lone workers. With increasing pressures on businesses to enhance profits and productivity, and an increase in automation and new technologies, this number continues to grow year on year.

While lone working allows organisations to operate in a more efficient manner, with it comes a new set of health and safety challenges. Lone workers are more vulnerable to the risks of violence, abuse, accident and injury as any risk they face, is faced alone.

But should organisations be taking extra care when protecting their lone working staff?

This guide outlines three business reasons why you should take lone worker safety seriously; legal, moral and financial.

Read more

Shields Environmental protect lone working telecoms staff

Telecoms supplier, Shields Environmental have switched from a manual check-in system to StaySafe’shields-e logos easy to use app to ensure their staff are safe whilst they work and travel in the field.

Shields Environmental provide services and equipment to the telecoms industry. Their team of lone workers carry out electrical installations on sites across the UK, often travelling between busy cities and remote locations working at height and with electricity. Read more

StaySafe receives updated British Standard BS 8484:2016 accreditation for safety

Following an independent audit by the National Security Inspectorate (NSI), lone worker safety solution StaySafe has been approved for the provision of lone worker device services in accordance with the updated British Standard BS 8484:2016.

BS8484: 2016 supersedes the original BS 8484:2011, which StaySafe was awarded in 2015, and defines stringent guidelines regarding lone worker devices. A BS8484 accreditation is only awarded to solutions that are deemed to be fully compliant with current safety legislation and practices.

StaySafe monitoring service

StaySafe is an app and surrounding cloud-based monitoring service which tracks a lone worker’s location via GPS and alerts their manager if they do not check-in within a specified time.

The app works on iPhone, Android and Windows and offers a wide range of functions including panic button, check-in, GPS tracking, man-down and duress alerts. If an employee activates the app’s panic button or fails to check in, alerts are automatically triggered on screen and via text and email, allowing an employer to take immediate action. Monitoring can be done in-house via an online Hub or outsourced to one of StaySafe’s monitoring and response partners who offer 24/7 services.

British Standard of approval

Don Cameron, CEO StaySafe added; “achieving BS 8484:2016 status means we remain one of the handful of lone worker safety devices available in the market that meet the stringent British Standard of approval. It is a core part of our business to be independently recognised as having a solution that is fully compliant and of the highest quality as there is nothing more important to us than ensuring people’s safety”

If you would like to talk to us about StaySafe and how BS8484 applies to the Australasian market, please get in touch using the form below, or feel free to call on 0800 GET SECURE (0800 438 732):

Your Details

How can we help?

Feel free to ask a question or let us know how we can help you protect your lone workers.


1 in 6 wouldn’t report a workplace hazard

A new survey published by Accident Advice Helpline, has revealed that hazards aren’t always being reported in the workplace. 1 in 6 said they would not report identified workplace hazards despite 25% admitting that they or someone they worked with had been harmed at work.

When asked why, the respondents gave the following answers;

  • 29% said they didn’t have the time
  • 24% felt the hazard didn’t affect them
  • 23% said it wasn’t their responsibility
  • 23% didn’t know who to report a hazard to
  • 13.2% worried about getting in trouble
  • 7.5% were told not to report an issue

Read more