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.
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 study1 , which again highlighted that 51% of agents do not have a lone worker policy or provide personal safety training to their employees.
However, as an employer you have a legal responsibility to protect your staff and conform to lone worker legislation. Patrick Dealtry, StaySafe’s official expert advisor and chair of the lone worker section of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) explains the importance of keeping lone workers safe; “I know of cases where lone worker alarms have saved lives and prevented more serious injury, and in doing so they have also protected companies from the effects of legislation and litigation. The first corporate manslaughter prosecution under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, was where Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings were fined £385,000 in 2011, related to the death of a geologist working alone” explains Dealtry. “It is hugely important from both a moral and business point of view that lone workers are properly protected”
One of our property clients who use the app is LPC Living – a Manchester-based developer specialising in urban regeneration. The developer, which is owned by global investor the Pervaiz Naviede Family Trust, began working with StaySafe because their incumbent technology was temperamental and took up too much memory on their employees’ phones. After an extensive review of the market, LPC selected StaySafe.
Scott Neal, marketing manager at LPC Living, explains their decision to migrate to StaySafe; “The safety of our employees is paramount. When we were looking at the various options we felt that we needed a solution that was simple to use, could integrate seamlessly into the company and was flexible enough to grow with the business.
“We’ve been very impressed with the way StaySafe provides real time tracking of our colleagues, allows them to check in safely after appointments and notifies senior management automatically in the event a staff member requires assistance.”
We were particularly impressed with the StaySafe app because it offers additional features such as an inactivity alert, which is activated if a colleague remains in a location for longer than expected and a duress alert which notifies management if an employee purposely enters a false PIN code. These additional features not only help us meet our legal obligations to keep our workers safe but also offer greater greater peace of mind to our employees when they are out in the field.”
1 PPSS Survey March 2010 of 1,000 UK agency firms 2 Inside Housing Survey 2012