Affordable tech can mitigate shop worker violence
Scottish Retail Consortium figures revealing that nine retail workers are threatened every day is a wake-up call to employers, a safety specialist has said.
Conditions for retailers are extremely challenging and the research highlights that costs to fight a rising tide of retail crime are spiralling.
Tom Morton, CEO of Safe Shores Monitoring, is supporting clients in the retail sector to ensure the safety of their staff with the company’s lone worker technology developed over the last 20 years.
He said: “The BRC/SRC annual retail crime survey reports a number of harrowing examples of situations that highlight the growing problem of attacks on retail staff.
“Current market conditions mean retailers are finding it harder to make ends meet, and with fewer staff on the shop floor, sadly this means they are more vulnerable to this rise in crime and need to find cost effective security solutions.”
Recently Safe Shores Monitoring launched its Companion app which turns any smart device into an affordable and discreet personal safety alarm which can be linked to a central control room.
A wireless SOS button can also be deployed throughout the building and carried by individual staff. Companion operates across mobile and WiFi networks to open a 2-way audio link when SOS is activated, this enables retail staff to access a high level of protection when working, locking up or carrying cash.
Tom said: “According to the survey, a large proportion of victims of retail crime found police response to be poor. This is mainly because police forces face difficult resourcing issues themselves. Our system supports the workers, the employer, and law enforcement.”
The Safe Shores Monitoring Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) provides a ‘Police Preferred Specification’ service which means their highly-trained staff can provide verified crime alerts to police control rooms directly when users signal need for help.
Tom said: “Safe Shores Monitoring is certified so that it can bypass the 999 system to ensure rapid response. This combined with the system’s location services and its ability to connect to in-store CCTV actually supports law enforcement to act rapidly and secure a conviction where required.”
Recent National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) figures confirm slips, trips, and falls are common causes of injuries in retail stores, with falls from portable ladders one of the leading causes of occupational fatalities and injuries. Solutions such as the Companion app, which contains an advanced fall detection sensor, is an effective alert system when isolated retail and warehouse staff experience accidents.
Safe Shores Monitoring commends efforts led by Daniel Johnson MSP and shopworker’s trade union Usdaw to introduce new legislation increasing protection for workers in the retail sector.
Tom said: “Stopping this rise in threats and attacks on retail staff is a massive challenge that needs to be addressed through multiple approaches. Deployment of solutions such as Companion help to act as a deterrent and support moves to secure stiffer penalties for those who assault shop workers. When linked to police certified response centres, these solutions enable rapid response, delivers peace of mind and improves the wellbeing of under-siege retail industry staff.”