Lone Worker Duress Alarms

What is a lone worker duress alarm?

A duress alarm alerts an employer or monitoring station, that a lone worker is being forced to end a session or alert on their lone worker safety app or device.

Why would a lone worker need a duress alarm?

For many lone workers, visiting clients behind closed doors or working closely with members of the public, is common practice. While usually safe to do so, there exists the risk of experiencing violence and aggression while on the job.

For some industries and job roles, the rate of verbal and even physical aggression is alarming. Those considered higher risk include; nurses, housing employees, social workers, and those working in the retail and hospitality sectors.

While there are ways to reduce the chance of violence and aggression, the risk is often difficult to predict and control. People can be extremely unpredictable, especially when being told bad news, dealing with a sensitive issue or where money and alcohol are involved.

Equipping lone workers with a lone worker device or app ensures they always have a way to signal for help if they begin to feel uncomfortable. But what if the aggressor notices the lone worker is being tracked or has sent an alert? The situation may be aggravated further and they may force the lone worker to turn off the app or device.

However, a duress pin, allows the lone worker to appear as if they have turned off the alert or device, when in fact, a Duress Alarm will have been sent to their manager or response centre. With someone alerted to the fact that the lone worker is in trouble, assistance can be sent to help them de-escalate the situation.

How does StaySafe’s Duress alarm work?

With StaySafe, a Duress PIN can be used to alert an employer of a confrontational situation.

To end a session or alert on the StaySafe app, the lone worker is required to enter their ‘Safe PIN’. However, if they are being forced to perform an action on the app under duress, they can instead enter their Duress PIN.

The app will appear to end the session or alert, but in reality, a Duress alarm will have been sent to the StaySafe Hub and their managers.

What happens next?

How the monitor responds to a Duress will depend on the Response Procedures set out by the company. However, a Duress alert will usually be treated as an urgent matter and must be dealt with quickly and sensitively. With two-way audio, the monitor can listen in on the lone worker to verify the alert instead of making a phone call, which could cause further aggravation.

Once the lone worker has sent the Duress alarm, they should follow any training they have received on conflict management. If they are able to leave the situation safely, they should do so and upon entering a safe area, contact their supervisor.

How is a Duress button different from a Discreet Panic?

Duress and Discreet Panic alerts are often mixed up, and while they both have slightly similar purposes, they are triggered in different ways.

A Discreet Panic is also used during conflict as a way to signal for help without an aggressor noticing. This may be through the phones power button – from the lone worker’s pocket – or via a discreet button worn around the neck, clothing or on the wrist.

However, Duress alarms are triggered if the aggressor notices that a Panic or Discreet Panic has been triggered or even if they notice the lone worker is being monitored through a session. Instead of a physical button, a duress alarm will usually take to form of a PIN code as explained earlier.

If you are interested in seeing StaySafe’s Duress Alert in action, sign up for a free demo.

Advice from the experts:

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