Content Coordinator, SHP Online

May 19, 2017

Get the SHP newsletter

Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources

Suzy Lamplugh Trust

Suzy’s Code: “There’s still a long way to go” to protect staff

2016 was the 30-year anniversary of Suzy Lamplugh’s disappearance working as an estate agent.

Suzy’s Code was launched last year in order to highlight the need for employers to have adequate buddy systems in place to trace their staff at all times and ensure their safety.

Saskia Garner, Policy Officer for Personal Safety at the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, will be speaking at Safety & Health Expo 2017 about Suzy’s Code. We asked Saskia to explain the employer’s responsibilities for ‘personal safety’ and how the principles of Suzy’s Code should be used to protect lone workers in all sectors.

Suzy Lamplugh, a 25 year old estate agent, disappeared in 1986 while showing a client round a house in Fulham.

“Personal Safety is included within the laws relating to Health and Safety and relates specifically to ways in which people are safer – and feel safer – from violence and aggression. There are a number of laws designed to protect personal safety including the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. This means:

  • Your employer has a duty of care to you through policies & procedures, training, risk assessment etc
  • You have a responsibility to co-operate with your employer
  • You have a duty of care to yourself and to colleagues, clients, contractors and members of the public you come across in the context of your work.

Personal safety also affects us outside the workplace and Suzy Lamplugh Trust has worked on a range of issues such as taxis and minicabs, public transport and online dating to highlight safety risks.”

Not just for Estate Agents

The Principles laid out in Suzy’s Code are applicable to all sectors as they set out practical steps that can protect people in all workplaces. The simple procedures to ensure someone knows where you are, if you are safe and what to do if your safety can’t be confirmed can be implemented by any organisation and indeed by those who are self-employed.

We surveyed 250 estate agents to assess the extent to which employees in this sector feel at risk while at work and were concerned to find that one in five said they had conducted a property viewing where they felt unsafe and for female estate agents this was nearly a third. A further 7% stated that they had been threatened. Also of concern was the fact that only 5% of those experiencing a feeling of being unsafe reported the incident to the company.

In addition, Inside Housing reported that of 346 Housing Association workers they surveyed, 69% said they had been verbally assaulted while doing their job in housing in the previous 12 months and nine respondents said they had been taken hostage in the past year.

Our research suggests that there is still a long way to go for organisations to ensure that they have adequate personal safety policies and procedures in place to protect staff, and that employees need to be made better aware of the importance of following these.

Our work with a range of organisations shows that while some have implemented buddy systems and issued employees with personal safety or lone worker devices, this is not always the case and where it is, guidelines are not always followed.

Suzy Lamplugh Trust

Suzy Lamplugh Trust urges both employers and individuals to take simple but important steps to improve personal safety in the workplace and in all aspects of life. Suzy Lamplugh Trust delivers ongoing, comprehensive training courses for employers to highlight and address personal safety risks in the workplace, including lone working and online safety.

We also provide personal safety advice on a range of issues and we also run the National Stalking Helpline to advise people who believe they are being stalked.

Saskia Garner is the Policy Officer  Saskia works on a wide range of safety issues including taxis and mini-cabs, lone working and online dating. Her work covers research and policy advocacy as well as organising National Personal Safety Day.

To see Saskia speak at Safety & Health Expo 2017 register here.

Related Topics

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments