Editor, UBM

June 17, 2015

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Overcoming challenges when training lone worker staff

“There’s one thing I can’t do, as a trainer,” said David Castle as he started his presentation in the Lone Worker Arena at the Safety & Health Expo.  “I can’t make people safe.”

“I have no control over how the staff are managed or the resources they are given. My objective has a trainer is to create an environment  where I can try and induce them to change their behaviour.”

David set out three key points to address in his presentation:

  1. What does personal safety mean?
  2. What stops us from keeping safe?
  3. Who has responsibility for my safety?

Personal safety is concerned with reducing the potential for us to suffer emotional or physical harm because of the behaviour of other people, he explained.

“This is fine,” said David, “ but we need to go deeper.”

He picked out some key words to examine:

  • Harm – what is harm? David explained that this links into how personal safety is perceived.
  • Potential – what is our potential to experience this harm? And what steps do we take to reduce this potential?

David highlighted that it was important to get people thinking about risk in relation to them. He explained that people generally find it easier to relate to things like burglaries and child abductions because they have a fear that this is something that could happen to them.

“It’s harder sometimes for people to relate to something like an ambulance driver getting attacked because they’re not ambulance drivers.

“One of the challenges is getting staff to recognise whether their job role has the potential for risk as well,” said David.

He went on to identify those most at risk:

  • Lone workers
  • Those in high profile jobs or recognisable jobs
  • Those visiting clients homes/territories
  • Those in enforcing/inspecting roles
  • Those dealing with vulnerable people
  • Those handling cash or valuables
  • Staff who come into contact with the general public.

One in ten staff who go into people’s homes as part of their jobs have been held hostage, said David.


David Castle consults for Plan4Safety

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