Lone worker used ID badge to save knife attack victim
A quick-thinking lone worker, who saved a stranger’s life after finding him stabbed at the side of the road, has received an Outstanding Citizens Award for his fearless action. Here, SHP speaks to his employer and the company that produced the technology that helped him raise the alert.
Mark Watts, a 25-year-old Carpenter employed by WM Housing Group, which manages more than 30,000 homes across the West Midlands, was travelling alone in his work vehicle when he saw an injured man at the side of the road. He stopped his vehicle and went to assist and immediately raised an alarm using his Identicom ID badge. The badge, which looks like a normal identification badge, uses technology to connect the wearer to SoloProtect’s Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC).
Mark provided first aid, whilst also having to calm a gang of people involved in the incident and managed to get the victim to the safety of his van.
Explaining how the Identicom device works, Rob Harris from SoloProtect said: “The SoloProtect device is an ID badge design, so it’s always within reach, and discreet to use. When required by the lone worker, the device uses mobile phone technology to open a call to Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) support, this is available 24/7/365. From there, an operator is quickly assigned the alarm, verifies the nature of the incident – and is then going to support the lone worker and potentially escalate further, depending on what is appropriate given the nature of the situation.”
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, who awarded Mark with his Outstanding Citizens Award, said: “Mark’s actions were incredibly brave – there’s not many people who would stop and do that. His fearless and quick-thinking actions not only saved the victim’s life but also resulted in an arrest. He is a true community hero.”
Mark commented, “I was really surprised to get this nomination, it’s really nice to be recognised”.
Speaking of the incident, Mark said: “When I saw him covered in blood, I stopped and pulled over. I immediately activated my SoloProtect ID badge. I started to do first aid on him but then a gang of people who had started the trouble came over and that caused a bit of uproar. I managed to calm things down and get the victim safely into my van. By this time he was drifting in and out of consciousness. Then the police arrived and took control of the situation.
“I just couldn’t drive past and leave him – other people were but I couldn’t do that, I’d want someone to help me or a member of my family if the tables were turned. It was a really hectic situation but I’m proud of myself for stopping: it was the right thing to do. When I stopped, he was heading for the ground and who knows how it would have ended if they had caught up with him again.”
Adding: “I was really surprised to get this nomination, it’s really nice to be recognised. I also got an award from my employer too so that was great.”
For WM Housing, Jane Boulden said that the company was extremely proud of Mark adding that the action he took showed true courage. “We strongly believe in creating places where people feel safe to both live and work, with that in mind we wanted to provide additional support to our lone working staff and SoloProtect badges are a simple and affective away of achieving that.” Jane said.
Questioned about other measures the company uses to protect lone workers, Jane added: “We have staff that work closely with other agencies, charities and tenants directly to try and prevent antisocial behaviour in the first place. Additionally we encourage staff to have a zero tolerance to abuse so that we can pick up any problems hopefully before they escalate. Lastly, we train our staff in lone working and conflict management to give them the skills to know how to react appropriately to a difficult situation.”
When asked how lone worker safety has changed in the last 30 years (it has been 30 years since estate agent Suzy Lamplugh went missing at work. SoloProtect’s ARC is named after her and the company works closely with the Suzy Lamplugh Trust to raise awareness of the dangers of lone working), SoloProtect’s Rob Harris said: “Many things have changed in the last 30 years, and Suzy Lamplugh Trust has played a major role in assisting better education around personal safety, for workers and in general. There are many mechanisms organisations can utilise to improve staff safety – and clearly there is no single tactic to remove risk – but an organisation’s culture, and how it approaches duty of care, is key. A mixture of clear policy that is well communicated, thorough and accessible training for staff, plus robust technology accredited to BS8484, all play a major role in improving lone worker safety.
“From our perspective as a lone worker solution provider, involving the workforce prior to implementation, and training workers face to face is key to ensure successful solution adoption, as it is introduced. From there, customer support that reduces the administrative time (and associated cost) required to manage solution changes on an ongoing basis, also allows a client to focus where they need to. This gives a platform for better solution usage, safer personnel and return on a client’s investment.”
A guide to home working
This hub has been put together by SHP, Barbour EHS and The Healthy Work Company to provide research, case studies, videos and resources to enable you to lead this transition in a way which safeguards the wellbeing of your teams and maximises the opportunity to embrace new ways of working for the future.