On National Personal Safety Day, 8th November 2018, we launched the Stay Safe At Work campaign and the results of our retail workplace safety survey highlighting personal safety risks to workers in the retail sector.

See our pamphlet and poster highlighting the main risks to retail staff and our Charter for Workplace Safety which guides employers in steps to take to protect staff.

Suzy Lamplugh Trust’s personal safety retail survey 

In September 2018, Suzy Lamplugh Trust carried out a survey of over 1,000 employees and employers in the retail sector to learn more about their personal safety risks and how employers are successfully mitigating them. Full survey results are available to view here and key themes are outlined below. The results highlight a clear need for employers to do more to help their staff feel and be safer, such as implementing the steps set out in Suzy’s Charter for Workplace Safety, set out in the pamphlet.

Our survey illustrates that despite some measures being in place in some workplaces to reduce the risk of violence and aggression to workers, many workers do not believe that these are sufficient to mitigate the risks they face. Isome cases, staff are not aware of any measures being in place. This indicates an urgent need for employers to embed personal safety into workplace culture and to take steps outlined in Suzy’s Charter for Workplace Safety to ensure that risks are sufficiently assessed and mitigated.

Suzy's Charter for Workplace Safety

  1. Embed a workplace personal safety culture
  • Employers should embed a culture of personal safety in their workplaces by ensuring regular consultation and dialogue with staff about the risks they face and the steps they would like to see implemented. This should counter any perceptions or acceptance by employees of violence and aggression being ‘part of the job’.
  1. Implement adequate risk assessments
  • Employers should prioritise risk assessment and mitigation for all employees and adhere to legislation and guidance setting out obligations for protecting the personal safety of staff.
  • Risk assessments should include specific consideration of lone workers as well as risks related to all specific environments that different staff work in, such as client’s/patient’s homes and remote locations etc. Employers should follow HSE guidance on risk assessments.[i]
  • Risk assessments should include consideration of all forms of violence, aggression and harassment, both online and offline. This should include stalking as well as any violence or harassment motivated by prejudice on the basis of a worker’s personal characteristics or perceived personal characteristics.
  • Risk assessments should include the impact of stress and mental health implications of violence and aggression at work.
  1. Provide adequate reporting procedures
  • Employers should provide access to reporting tools for all staff, including remote workers, to enable immediate and reactive reporting of all work-related personal safety incidents.
  1. Provide personal safety training
  • Employers should train all employees in preparing for and responding to personal safety risks.
  1. Implement a tracing system
    1.  Designated colleagues should always know each other’s whereabouts and contact details while they are working alone or on the front line. This should include checking in and out when arriving at and leaving an appointment or meeting, including out of normal office hours.
  2. Have a system in place for colleagues to covertly raise the alarm
  • Enable colleagues to alert the office in case of an emergency while working alone.
  • Where possible have discreet lone worker devices available.
  1. Have a clear procedure to follow if a colleague does not return or check in when expected
  2. Ensure colleagues share contact details of the person they are meeting
  • This should include the exact location and time
  1. Offer all staff a personal safety alarm
  2. Regularly consult on, update, inform staff and provide access to all personal safety measures available