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April 24, 2023

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Employee safety

The majority of people who work in the in UK’s biggest sector fear for their safety every day, a survey has revealed

The majority of people who work in the professional services sector fear for their safety on a daily basis, a survey has revealed.

The survey, commissioned by Peoplesafe, showed 71% of people worry about personal safety when working late, 75% worry when travelling for business and 69% worry about safety on their commute.

It also revealed one in four feel unsafe when travelling home after working late – which rises to one in three for women – and 24% of those surveyed said they would leave a role due to personal safety concerns.

The sector includes lawyers, architects, accountants, financial advisers, engineers, consultants and many more – it employs 21.4% of workers in the UK, the highest percentage within any single occupation.

dark streetSuky Bhaker, CEO at the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, said: “These latest stats demonstrate that the safety threat to professional services workers continues to be underestimated.

“Employees, for whom anti-social hours and frequent travel are part of the job description, should not have to work in fear for their safety and we support any research that highlights this issue.

“Thirty-seven years after the disappearance of Suzy Lamplugh on, what was for her, just an ordinary day at work, we continue to campaign for a society in which people are safer – and feel safer – from violence and aggression.”

Government and employees should “work together”

Naz Dossa, Chief Executive of the lone worker protection provider Peoplesafe, added: “Professional Service companies are failing their people and the stats strongly suggest they will pay a high price in productivity and lost talent if they don’t wake up and turn their attention to employee safety. It is clear that they are not delivering the basics to keep their people safe.

“Safety concerns are very real for the employees working in this sector and there must be better awareness and conversation around this issue. We need to shift the dial on the importance of employee personal safety by supporting businesses to act in the best way possible, and by giving employees greater peace of mind through recognised standards. 

“We can make a genuine difference this way and continue to call on employers and Government to work together to achieve a step change in how all workers, across all sectors, are being protected.”

Many people in the professional services sector work alone, outside of traditional office hours, or travel regularly.

But as the roles are largely office based, they may not be considered particularly high risk.

The survey showed 50% of women feel discouraged from working late due to personal safety fears, compared to 42% of men.

It also revealed 44% of people employed in the sector reported incidents in the last year that made them fear for their safety and one in four employees reported incidents directly involving violent or threatening behaviour. 

Of the incidents reported 26% of victims worried it might happen again, 20% suffered with anxiety as a result of it, 15% considered changing jobs and 12% were annoyed their employer didn’t take it seriously

For one in four employees, incidents affected their productivity and wellbeing and where they occurred, 71% of employers had to implement new, costly changes.

And seven out of ten people surveyed said they would use a personal safety app if offered it – 75% of women said yes, compared to 66% of men.

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


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