Recording developments in body worn video for lone workers
SHP talks to SoloProtect UK’s Craig Swallow about how developments in body worn video can make lone workers, and their employers, safer.
Ensuring the safety of lone workers is a constant issue for businesses sending its employees out and about on a daily basis. It’s a key topic at next week’s Safety & Health Expo, which is dedicating its Lone Worker and Driver Safety Theatre to talks on the subject.
Craig Swallow founded SoloProtect UK in 2003 to help clients address the risks associated with having lone working staff. He will be taking part in two of the sessions: ‘Body worn video: Understanding the benefits and considerations’ and a panel discussion on ‘Managing the social risks of lone working’.
In recent months, Oxfordshire County Council, Parking wardens in East Riding, Yorkshire and Humberside Police have all announced that they will be issuing body camera’s to their employees. SHP readers are drawn on the subject, with just 56% saying that all public facing staff should wear body cams for their own safety.
So with just seven days to go before the Expo kicks off, SHP gave Craig a call to see how the market for wearable technology has developed in recent years and what issues and considerations remain for potential users.
There have been some real advances in wearable technology in the past few years. What are the specific advantages of body worn video for lone workers?
Craig Swallow (CS): “There are a number of advantages to both the lone worker and to their employer. Probably the biggest advantage is the increased speed of incident assessment that can happen once an alarm-receiving centre operator has a visual as well as audio.
“Its clear that this means that situations that were previously difficult to determine as genuine or false – and if genuine, the severity level – now becomes much easier. In many cases and based on our assessment of actual incidents, several minutes can be saved which really matters in a potentially life or death situation.
“The second major benefit is that an employer now stands a better chance of face-to-face visual verification of a perpetrator. For example, in a retail environment, where CCTV may not be present or is ceiling mounted, a body worn solution is more likely to capture more evidence. And its not fixed to a specific location and so it can provide this evidence whether the shop worker is at the point of sale, elsewhere in the store or carrying out external duties such as keyholding at the start/end of day.”
What specific data protection considerations are there for organisations deploying body worn videos?
(CS): “The legal landscape when video is involved, especially now with GDPR in play, is different and does need close consideration. In the majority of cases, safety of the lone worker underpins the need for deployment. This is unlike previous body-worn video (BWV) solutions deployed with Police where the primary use case is evidence capture.
“It can be a complex topic but a good supplier will be able to provide good legal guidance and offer templates for a client’s Data Privacy Impact Assessments (DPIAs) which are now a legal requirement when considering data protection. Second to this, streaming video to an alarm receiving centre by its very nature means video data can be better managed when compared to traditional ‘dock and download’ solutions.”
Are there any specific groups of lone workers that you believe would benefit from body worn videos?
(CS): “Yes, ranging from retail to logistics, enforcement to cash/valuables in transit. In short, any application where visual evidence is desirable and/or the fastest escalation route is required.”
In your trials, how have the lone workers responded to using the technology? Have there been any negative responses and if so how can organisations avoid this?
(CS): “Our experiences to date have been limited but generally the users (lone workers) have been very receptive but need education on the dos and don’ts with respect to recording. I think in general, there is an understanding that the majority of users appreciate in that visual and audio evidence is far more valuable that audio evidence alone.”
Do you have any thoughts on the likely next step in development of wearable technology for lone workers?
(CS): “SoloProtect is determined to remain at the forefront of innovation in the lone worker market and to that end, yes, we see many opportunities for the development directions for wearable tech in this space.
“But, the key is always to make sure that its simple for the lone worker to use, always to hand when needed and that they themselves genuinely gain value from wearing and using. Historically, I think the level of user engagement hasn’t been as high as it should be and we are determined to help address that.”
Craig Swallow will be speaking twice at Safety & Health Expo 2018. He will be presenting ‘Body worn video: Understanding the benefits and considerations’ on Tuesday 19 June, 11.00, and taking part in a panel discussion, ‘Managing the social risks of lone working’, Wednesday 20 June, 11.30, both in the Lone Worker & Driver Safety Theatre.
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