Tag Archive for: property_management

Major threats faced by housing staff

Due to the varied nature of the workforce, employees within the housing sector are facing a growing number of large-scale threats which can affect both employee safety and business continuity. Employers have a duty of care to protect their workers, but this can prove challenging for large organisations with disparate staff.

Fires

Fires are a major concern for housing organisations such as associations and estate agents, particularly following the Grenfell Tower incident in 2017. The tragic incident which caused 72 deaths and injured over 70, due to a number of fire hazards present in the building. The exterior cladding was one such hazard and has found to be widely used in buildings around the world, creating a potential for similar incidents in the future.

This year, a building with the same cladding as Grenfell ignited in Melbourne, Australia and spanned 8 floors. Similar fires were also seen in Brazil, Dubai, Indonesia, Israel, and France in the past 4 years.

While the situations around Grenfell led to an extraordinarily high fatality rate, house fires are not uncommon. Recent statistics show that there were 19,656 reported fires in London alone in 2018, while 2% of all social renters experienced a fire in their homes in the year spanning 2016/17. Of this, 25 % were serious enough to require emergency response.

With housing employees spending much of their time in client’s homes, they are at risk of being caught up in fires while their employer is likely to be unaware of their location and whether they are able to evacuate the building safely.

Criminal activity

Criminal activity is also becoming more common during working hours and in public spaces, creating more opportunity for employees working within the community to be involved in an incident.

Employees travelling between appointments and meetings can easily be caught up in such incidents which are extremely unpredictable and have largely changed in nature to random attacks on busy streets.

Riots and protests are also a threat across many parts of the world and innocent bystanders can easily get caught up in clashes and violent attacks.

Locating & protecting your workforce

Housing organisations are rightly concerned about their employees being involved in an emergency situation, due to their unpredictable nature and ability to cause considerable panic and disruption, to staff, tenants and business continuity.

However, identifying which employees are affected by an incident and providing them with appropriate and timely assistance can prove incredibly challenging and costly. It is important that every organisation has a disaster management plan in place which is appropriately documented and distributed to employees so that they know how to keep themselves safe if caught up in an incident.

With large, disjointed workforces, having a tech-based solution in place that allows management to quickly locate employees during an incident, not only saves the business time and resources but could also help prevent employees from harm.

Locating your employees in an emergency

StaySafe has specifically-designed functionality to overcome common lone worker challenges faced in the housing sector and by local authorities.

The StaySafe lone worker app is linked to a secure cloudbased hub providing you with real-time updates on the welfare status of your lone workers. In an emergency, you can easily and accurately locate your employees on the map and send immediate assistance to them.

The app includes a notes feature which allows lone workers to add extra details, such as who they are meeting with, or where in a building they are based. This extra detail can save valuable minutes in the event of an emergency.

Being notified when employees miss a welfare check-in

Through the hub, you can set regular welfare check-in intervals. If one of your employees fails to check-in safely during that time, or raises an alert, a notification will immediately pop up in the hub. Responders will also receive an SMS text and email, allowing lone workers to be located, and get the help they need straight away.

The hub is fully customisable, so you can create tailored reporting lines and escalation procedures that work for your company and employees. If you do not have the resources to monitor your teams in-house, you can outsource. We partner with a number of professional monitoring partners who can monitor employee safety and alert escalation 24/7 to keep your employees safe.

Giving your employees the ability to raise a panic alert

staysafe-app

 Working alone increases the risk to your employees, as there is no one to raise the alarm in an emergency. Your lone working employees need to be able to get help quickly and easily should they need to.

The StaySafe lone worker app enables you to know the location and welfare of lone workers in an emergency, and allows them to check-in and raise a panic alert easily. As the app is installed on your employee’s smart device, it is always with them and greater user uptake compared to separate devices.

Your employees can raise a panic alarm at any time, the app doesn’t even need to be active for them to get help. As soon as they panic, their location and welfare status pops up in the hub and responders know that a lone worker needs assistance.

For added peace of mind, there is a ‘discreet panic’ function, this provides your employees with a way to signal for help without further escalating a situation. The Duress PIN provides a way to raise a panic alarm if lone workers are being forced to close the app. The PIN will appear to close the app, whilst still sending location and panic data to the hub.

Want to find out more about how StaySafe can help you to know that your employees are safe when working?

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Originally written by Alan Coulter, StaySafe. Reproduced with permission

Crockers Property Management

Crockers property management praise the simplicity and usability of the StaySafe smartphone app as they roll out the solution to protect their lone working staff.

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Aspire Housing

Housing Association Aspire Housing launched StaySafe to oversee the safety of their lone workers when visiting potentially dangerous neighbourhoods and properties.

Aspire Housing is made up of three strands; Aspire Housing, PM Training and Realise Charity. Lone working is common practice in both the Housing and Charity strands, where employees regularly visit homes and properties alone.

Housing employees visit homes to support clients as well as carrying out repairs and maintenance operations, while lone workers operating in the charity strand meet with and support young people.

Working across a range of environments and often behind closed doors, Aspire recognised that their employees could be exposed to a number of risks on a daily basis. While safety has always been a priority, Aspire identified that the dedicated device they had in place had become outdated and was no longer fit for purpose. As a result, Aspire undertook a review of the other solutions available and decided to trial StaySafe. Trial users responded positively to the new software and Aspire felt that StaySafe provided the most cost-effective and user-friendly solution for their staff.

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Hafod Housing

Hafod Housing are a not-for-profit organisation, providing affordable housing, care and support across South East Wales. Managing over 4,000 homes, Hafod Housing rely on a team of lone workers operating over a range of roles; from maintenance surveyors to caretakers and housing officers.

Lone workers at Hafod Housing are largely public facing and are frequently required to make visits independently to properties. Hafod works with some of the most vulnerable people in the community and do not always have the opportunity to meet and assess residents before housing them. Due to the nature of their work, Hafod’s housing officers are at higher risk of antisocial behaviours such as violence and aggression.

Those working to maintain properties regularly use ladders, heavy tools and carry out work on roofs and other potentially unstable structures. The risks they face tend to be more environmental as they are exposed to common workplace risks such as slips, trips and falls.

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See how Altwood Group uses StaySafe to protect lone workers

StaySafe keeps vulnerable housing sector workers safe in the field.

Altwood logo

Employees in the housing sector can be extremely vulnerable as they are required to visit building sites and empty properties, carry out maintenance work and meet with buyers and tenants, often by themselves. Lone workers can be an easy target for verbal or physical abuse or have an accident and not be able to call for help.

In a study commissioned in 2012 by Inside Housing1 of more than 220 councils, arm’s length management organisations and housing associations in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales it was found that 84% of survey respondents had been verbally assaulted, 8% had had a weapon used against them and 1% had been sexually assaulted.

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LPC is a property manager using StaySafe to protect their workforce

Employees in the property and housing sectors can be extremely vulnerable as they are often required to work alone. Whilst serious incidents are thankfully rare, a survey conducted by PPSS1 showed that 30% of estate agents have been victims of verbal abuse, 16% have felt intimidated and more than 1 in 10 have been threatened during a viewing.

lpc living logo

What is clear from studies such as this is that no matter what area of the property industry you work in, lone workers are always vulnerable and need protecting – but worryingly many organisations are not adequately doing so.

Over half (51%) of respondents to a recent Inside Housing study2 believe their employer is not always doing enough to protect them. The same was found in the PPSS study 1 , which again highlighted that 51% of agents do not have a lone worker policy or provide personal safety training to their employees. Read more

Discover how Martin & Co Property Management protect their lone workers

Martin & Co have launched the StaySafe Business App and surrounding monitoring service to provide peace of mind to their lone working agents.

Martin and Co logo

The StaySafe Business App allows Martin & Co Leeds City & Leeds North to monitor their employees’ safety and GPS location through an online Hub. The employee is able to start a timed session and alert their employer through a number of features if they face any danger.

As an office belonging to the largest letting and property management franchise in the UK, Martin & Co Leeds City & Leeds North rely on their lone workers to provide their award-winning service. Prior to working with StaySafe, Martin & Co utilised a diary system to keep track of employee safety.

However, after undertaking a review of their lone working policies they concluded they needed a more robust system in order to fully meet their duty of care as an employer. Following a two-week trial of the BS8484* accredited StaySafe app and Hub, Martin & Co decided to roll out the solution across their business. Read more

Joscelyne Chase replaced their manual call-in system with StaySafe to improve staff safety while reducing costs

Estate Agents Joscelyne Chase use the StaySafe Business app and surrounding monitoring service to ensure that they meet their duty of care to their lone workers.

Joscelyne Chase logo

The property industry is one of the first professions many people think of when considering lone worker safety; sadly because of some of the high-profile attacks that have happened to those working alone in the property industry.

For employees at Joscelyne Chase, based in Essex, lone working is a daily occurrence with staff showing properties, carrying out inspections, terminating tenancies and lone working in the office. Read more

Inside Housing: Violence, fear and underreporting

28% of housing employees feel less safe on the job then they did last year.

This statistic comes as part of an Inside Housing Survey of 346 frontline housing workers in the UK. The survey revealed a frightening culture within the industry where many feel unsafe and unprotected.

Aggression and violence has been an issue in the housing industry for a long time. Housing staff tend to work closely with their clients, often in closed-door situations. Their roles may include delivering bad news to tenants, such as eviction, or working with at risk members of the public. Lone working is also common, leaving staff particularly vulnerable to violence and aggression.

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