Harlow Council

In an effort to mitigate potential risk to its lone workers, Harlow Council have issued Peoplesafe’s BS 8484:2016 approved personal alarms to its Sheltered Housing staff, Environmental Health Officers, Stewards and other lone working employees for increased personal protection.

A national study commissioned by the personal safety charity, The Suzy Lamplugh Trust found that 81% of Local Authority lone workers were concerned about violence and aggression, and a disturbing one in ten had actually been physically assaulted.

Harlow Council are a typical case: The Essex-based local authority provides a wide range of public services to over 80,000 residents in 37,000 homes. Some of these services require employees to work alone, sometimes in difficult situations.

Lone workers by definition are more vulnerable to violence and aggression than most employees, and therefore it is vitally important that the Council adheres to stringent lone worker Health and Safety legislation and develop long-term, robust strategies to provide safe working environments.

By issuing employees with the mobile and discreet MySOS personal safety alarms, it helps fulfil Harlow Council’s legal and moral Duty of Care to their staff as well as increasing the confidence and safety of the user, just by knowing that they can call for help at the touch of a button, wherever and whenever.

The MySOS personal safety alarm, audited and approved to BS 8484:2016 and ACPO’s coveted ‘Secured by Design’ accolade, is equipped with the latest mobile-phone and GPS tracking technology. When the user raises the alarm, an alert is instantly sent to Peoplesafe’s dedicated Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC), along with the GPS location of the device.

Specially trained Incident Managers at the ARC will: see who is calling, listen in through the device and assess the situation. If it’s safe to talk to the user, they will do so, calmly reassuring them that they are dealing with the incident, using the escalation instructions provided by the employer. If it is not safe to talk (i.e. potentially alerting an aggressor), they’ll directly contact the local police control room, bypassing the 999 service for a faster response.

The information relayed is sufficiently detailed to allow the emergency services responding to the incident to call upon the information supplied and start making appropriate preparations before they arrive at the scene. All audio and actions from the incident are digitally recorded and can be used for legal evidence if required.

The MySOS can also be equipped with a fall detection feature, so if the user slips, trips or falls, the device will automatically send an alarm signal to the ARC – vital if the user is knocked unconscious or is unable to raise the alarm themselves.

Sandra Farrington, Facilities Manager at Harlow Council explains why they implemented Peoplesafe’s lone worker solution, “we have staff who are on call 24/7. With the device, they feel safer in carrying out duties. We also have staff on reception who feel more secure in the knowledge that they have ‘back up’ in volatile situations.”

Harlow Council, like all of Peoplesafe’s clients, benefit from the full use of our online, custom-built Peoplesafe Portal. This secure interface, accessible from any internet-enabled computer allows client administrators or end-users to create and update their account details in real-time, 24/7.

Each lone worker’s individual profile can be created and amended by the client to include a wealth of personal information such as appearance, medical conditions, contact details and escalation instructions. Devices can even be assigned to a different user (at no additional cost) at the click of a mouse – ideal for clients who share a pool of devices for their shift workers. Any changes are updated immediately onto Peoplesafe’s system and made available to Incident Managers during an alarm.

What’s more, the portal further empowers client administrators with access to a full suite of activity reports, which can be downloaded, printed and exported to Microsoft Excel for further analysis. A visual representation of user activity, satellite and street maps can be generated showing the locations, dates and times of alarms and position reports for all lone working employees. Again, all information is updated in real-time.

“To know where employees are at any one time in the event of an emergency is priceless. Being able to input individual staff details, such as if they have diabetes was also a deciding factor when choosing Peoplesafe.”

Sandra Farrington, Facilities Manager

When asked why the Council chose Peoplesafe, Sandra replied, “aside from the fact that the product is great and suits our needs, from our first introduction at a conference, they were an approachable, helpful team who explained the service in plain English. They were honest and upfront about everything and weren’t pushy at all. They also have a friendly Customer Service team and for all of these reasons, I would recommend Peoplesafe to anyone looking to protect their staff.”

Harlow Council are just one of over 100 local authorities nationwide who trust and use Peoplesafe to protect their lone workers on a daily basis.