Working in the cleaning and security industries means many of my colleagues are inevitably involved in shift work. I’ve blogged before about some of the issues this involves, such as shift lengths. As well as the unsociability and potential health impacts of night working and long shifts, operatives often work on their own which can bring its own dangers.
Lone working means people are at risk of physical injury. Slips, trips and falls are still the most common form of accident in the workplace, but if no-one is aware that an accident has happened it could be hours before help arrives.
Another issue is that scarcely populated buildings can make an attractive target for thieves, as a cleaner in Australia discovered when they were threatened with a knife as they left an Adelaide bank at about 1.30am. Thankfully the cleaner wasn’t injured and the offender was subsequently arrested and charged with aggravated robbery.
There is also a risk of reputational damage for the operative and their employer, as being along in a property could mean they face false accusations if a theft takes place or property is damaged seemingly during their shift.
These issues can particularly affect cleaners, but security operatives, and other shift workers can be at risk too.
Security companies can offer some solutions though. Electronic solutions like those offered by Trigion are a cost-effective way to keep lone workers safe, as well as protecting the building and its contents.
- Remote access systems ensure only authorised people gain access to a building using proximity, swipe card or biometric access control systems.
- Staff identification cards, with magnetic swipe facilities, bar code reading technology and photographic identification allow for the monitoring and – if required – tracking of personnel.
- Proactive CCTV systems can prevent crimes occurring by actively connecting with the site using visual and audio tools at the point of intrusion; providing real security control and preventing theft or damage to your property.
- GPS technology such as our ‘TRIGILINQ’ system, allows our remote team to keep an eye on lone workers. The system includes a non-movement alarm, panic button and two-way radio so that the control room can escalate the situation if problems arise.
Ideally we’ll see a change in shift patterns so that people don’t have to work unsociable hours, but in the meantime let’s keep an eye on those who have to work alone.
Jan Hein Hemke,
Managing Director at Facilicom UK & Ireland