Personal Safety for Lone Workers

The need for personal safety training becomes more and more paramount and relevant, with recent headlines proving this point in an ever so apparent way
May 17, 2011 - PRLog -- This year alone headlines included ‘Dundee Nurse’s After Dark Fear’, ‘Violence Life of hospital Staff’ and ‘Attack in NHS Hospital Every Three Minutes’ to name just a few.

Nigel Dean, Head of health Sector Development, Telefónica O2 UK Limited, stated in October 2008: “81% of Lone Workers are concerned about violence or aggression, whilst 56% of those in the NHS, Local Government and Housing Associations have experienced aggression at least once in their careers”.

The UK's health & safety Laboratory (HSL) developed 18 case studies, approached over 400 organisations across a range of different professions, sent detailed questionnaires to all and conducted countless interviews. The outcome of these widely respected case studies is of great relevance to the importance of effective personal safety training.  In their case studies the HSL outlined a number of key risks:

Alcohol and drug use, by clients and members of the public with whom the lone worker comes into contact.
Certain geographical locations known to have a higher risk of violence.
Working late evening carried an increased risk of violence because there were generally either fewer people around and there was a higher risk of facing individuals under the influence of class A drugs and alcohol.
Lone workers holding position of power or authority over customers or clients.
Other members of the public, youths, animals and situations encountered whilst carrying out operational duties.

The consequences of violence or aggression at work have also been well documented.  The effects on the individual lone worker can include stress, anxiety, fear and depression, often resulting from having to deal with persistent verbal abuse.

For several reasons, not a lot can be said with certainty about the effect of obligatory personal safety training and how it may it contribute to reduce injuries and fatalities on lone workers.  Firstly, such studies must be completed over a longer span of time than the few years that have passed since safety training became obligatory.  Secondly, fatality and injury rates must be normalised against comparable data on the number of lone workers, with respect to workdays, hours on the move, time of operational duty and location.  

However, there is every reason to believe that personal safety training has positive effects on lone workers safety and the rates of injuries and fatalities, although, for many reasons, this is difficult to prove with concrete figures.  Personal safety training is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most effective ways of reducing the risk of violent and aggressive incidents occurring in the workplace.  All employees should be administered, not only training for the physical hazards of their jobs, but the emotional ones as well.  There is a reason companies have a Human Resource (HR) department.  Take advantage of all of the recommended HR training, such as Violence in the Workplace and Conflict Management.  

Training of this kind is an investment in the personal safety of lone worker, will save cost in the long run and above all prevent depression, stress, lack of confidence and many other issues within the workforce

When planning a personal safety trainining event for your lone workers, enforcement team or other frontline employees, it should be ensured that the invited trainer or instructor allows time for all delegates to share any previous experiences with physical or verbal aggressors and consider potential future situations of risk to ensure maximum learning benefit for the lone workers themselves. CPDT are one of the very few companies providing such realistic personal safety training courses.

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CPDT provide professional personal safety and life skills development training solutions to individuals, schools, companies and community groups
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