Workers in a retail environment can be just as susceptible to assaults, accidents and injuries as any other employee working alone. Staff can sometimes feel isolated in large stores both on the shop floor and in the warehouse. Industry figures show that 20,000 shop workers are physically attacked each year and even more are exposed to threats of violence and verbal abuse. And it’s not just violent behaviour that is an employer’s major concern – according to accident statistics, one of the main areas of risk in the retail sector are injuries caused by slips, trips and falls.
Traditional forms of calling for help, such as under-the-counter panic buttons, are limited in their use; they’re only useful if the worker is within reach. Many workers carry out duties away from these fixed alarms, such as opening and closing premises, carrying cash in transit and receiving goods deliveries. What’s more, upon activation, they don’t record what is happening nor can a trained Controller listen in and monitor to select the right course of action to take. With such inflexibility in their operation, many crimes can go undetected or only reported after the incident has occurred.
Laura Blunderfield, Area Sales Manager for Mattressman was tasked in finding a suitable solution to protect their in-store staff, who sometimes work alone. They wanted a device-based solution that allowed their staff to carry professional backup and assistance wherever they went. Laura explains, “Our sales staff could find themselves at work on their own, often before 9am and up to 8pm in some circumstances.”
Laura looked into various devices on the market. However, a live demonstration of the MySOS personal alarm and explanation of how Skyguard’s service works immediately impressed the retailer; they subscribed to Skyguard and issued devices to cover every one of its stores across the country.
Laura refers to Skyguard’s Incident Management Centre, where all alarms are received, monitored and managed. As soon as the alarm is raised, Controllers will monitor all audio via the MySOS and decide upon the best course of action required. This may include escalating the incident to the Police. In this event, Controllers will bypass the 999 emergency service and will link directly to Police control rooms, providing a rapid response and saving vital minutes. Because the MySOS is fitted with GPS technology, Controllers can also pinpoint the exact location of the user and provide the Police with precise co-ordinates. During any incident, all audio is digitally recorded and can be used as admissible evidence in court if required.
“Thankfully we have had no major incidents, although a few staff members have advised that there have been occasions where they were glad to have the device just in case they needed it.”
Skyguard’s is audited and approved against BS 8484:2016 – the British standard for lone worker device services. It’s also the only wholly-owned, end-to-end service fully accredited to the Police’s coveted ‘Secured by Design’ accolade, guaranteeing national Police approval.