The Calico Group


The Calico Group supports some of the most vulnerable people in our society in a number of areas – from providing safe refuge accommodation to victims of domestic violence to developing new, affordable housing for future generations.

As a Group, they care about their 600-strong workforce just as much as they care about the people who rely on their services, and so they were looking for a solution that would keep their employees safe while they were working alone. They wanted to find a solution that their teams felt comfortable using; in January 2020, they asked a selection of lone workers from across the Group to join the health and safety team in assessing a range of solutions from different providers.

  • More than a third of workers have a lone worker device
  • Unanimous decision to trial Peoplesafe products over two competitors
  • Specialist features ensure devices are tailor-made for the needs of employees
  • Practical training from Peoplesafe conducted so all users could attend

The Challenge

Some of The Calico Group’s workers were already using lone worker devices; however, these units were outdated and, in some cases, beginning to break. Many staff members were also uncomfortable with the way their existing devices defaulted to two-way communication, which meant that if they pressed the alert button, someone from the provider’s help centre would automatically speak to them through the device.

As the person from the help centre was audible to both the worker and whoever they were with, this could sometimes escalate a situation. They therefore wanted a device that could provide support more discreetly, such as by calling the user’s mobile number, as well as more modern devices that they could easily upgrade in the future.

The Solution

Beginning with a 10 month trial of the MicroGuard device in February 2020, 10 lone workers from across the business’s five divisions tested the solution. Pleased to have new devices, they were impressed with the service provided by Peoplesafe:

  • Online portal is very simple to use
  • Team are responsive
  • Replacement devices given within 48 hours

Peoplesafe enabled the workers to try out different devices and set up custom functionality during this trial period – for example, users agreed certain duress words that Peoplesafe’s ARC (Alarm Receiving Centre) Controllers would actively listen out for if the alarm was activated, immediately calling the user’s mobile number if they heard a duress word spoken.

In August 2020, following the easing of lockdown restrictions, The Calico Group’s lone workers trialled the MicroSOS device – a solution with different features from devices they had used before. They liked:

  • that it looks like a USB stick, meaning it can be worn and activated discreetly
  • that it was easier to use than alternatives
  • the training received from Peoplesafe’s experts before they were given their devices.

Peoplesafe worked with the Group to ensure that the device was customised to the needs of specific individuals. One of the lone workers suffered from seizures, for example, so Peoplesafe adapted the sensitivity of the device’s fall detection feature to ensure that it alerted to a fall plus impact rather than the standard functionality which alerts to a fall followed by no movement.

The Group’s workers have already tested their devices in a couple of emergency situations. When a member of the Group’s gas team activated his MicroSOS device, both he and the health and safety team were impressed and reassured by Peoplesafe’s response. He said,

“I had to use my SOS button and the service I received was fantastic. They stayed on the line, talking me through what had happened to make sure I was safe, and offered to ring my line manager to make them aware of the situation too.”

The Results

Following the trial, The Calico Group decided to invest in 235 MicroSOS devices, to keep all of their lone workers safe. Despite working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Peoplesafe made it easy by delivering each device directly to all their lone workers.

As part of the onboarding process, Peoplesafe’s customer support team also set up all of the employees’ information in their dedicated portal, and spent a couple of weeks delivering virtual training sessions, to make sure everyone was confident in using their devices.

These 30-minute training sessions were staggered throughout the day to ensure that workers on all shifts could attend, and team members were asked to bring their device with them to the session so that they could test all of the practical functionality of the device there and then.

The Calico Group’s Health and Safety Manager receives a monthly management information report using Power BI from their dedicated Personal Service Manager which provides crucial insight into key statistics such as device usage and the number of incidents reported. This has significantly reduced the time she spends on reporting as she now has all the information she needs at her fingertips.

“Our lone workers are very happy with their new devices, and we have been incredibly impressed with Peoplesafe’s service too. We have a dedicated account manager who is always friendly, helpful and quick to respond, and they ensured that the whole set-up process went very smoothly, despite the complexity of our organisation. Peoplesafe’s dedicated Alarm Receiving Centre has also been brilliant on the few occasions our employees have needed support.”

More of our teams are now ordering devices as they can see the peace of mind that both the devices and Peoplesafe’s service give to their colleagues, who are supporting some of the most vulnerable groups in society.
Liz Dewell, Group Health and Safety Manager, The Calico Group
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