The Group is a merger between City West Housing Trust, Villages Housing Association and construction company ForWorks. With over 500 employees, staff work in a number of roles including neighbourhood officers, operatives, caretakers, surveyors and income and court officers, which can potentially involve periods of lone working.
Typically, workers will have regular contact with members of the public and some may be required to enter a resident’s property. There are a number of risks associated with carrying out home visits that need to be managed effectively. From time to time, challenging situations may arise on a property visit, for example when carrying out an inspection, or evicting a tenant. For this reason, it’s vital that employees have a dependable method of back up that they can call upon should they require it
Skyguard work with over 100 housing associations in Britain to provide lone worker protection for those that work alone in a variety of different scenarios.
To give staff a subtle and easy way to call for assistance, ForViva have issued Skyguard’s MySOS personal alarms to their employees. Emma Savage, Health & Safety Officer at ForViva explains the impact this has had on staff.
About the size of a key fob, the MySOS protects its users by allowing them to raise an alarm discreetly. Simply holding down the SOS button on the unit for around 4 seconds triggers an alert, which will activate a two-way audio call to Skyguard’s specialised Incident Management Centre (IMC). Controllers can speak directly with the user or listen in, then escalate to the emergency services or an appropriate contact at ForViva depending on what the company’s procedure dictates.
Alarms can be activated 24 hours a day. Devices also have a ‘Mandown’ fall alarm feature that will raise an alert should a sudden impact be detected followed by a period of inactivity.
“The devices are very robust and do not easily break” says Emma Savage.
“Staff are friendly and helpful and go out of their way to help with queries. Having our own management system saves us time and allows us to make changes and re-assign devices quickly.”
She continues, “We have used other providers in the past and there is no comparison in terms of cost, service and product.”
With further expansion planned, ForViva continue to prioritise safer lone working, which is a must for Housing Associations in ensuring appropriate measures are in place to safeguard employees at risk.