Royal National Institute of Blind People

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Case Studies

The High Profile Charity Trusts Guardian24 with Their Lone Worker’s Safety

RNIB LogoThe Customer

Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is a group of registered charities offering information, support and advice to almost two million people in the UK with sight loss.  Significantly the group comprises of RNIB and Action for Blind People (AFBP) alongside other smaller sight loss charities.  RNIB’s work is supported by more than 2,000 staff and approximately 4,000 volunteers throughout the country.  Whether individuals are losing their sight or are already registered blind or partially sighted, RNIB’s practical and emotional support aims to help individuals face the future with confidence.

The Challenge

RNIB have a large number of staff who visit people in their homes and offer support to meet the needs of blind and partially sighted people. However, the majority of these staff work alone. Because there’s no immediate help at hand, lone working staff are immediately exposed to a greater risk of injury, assault or accidents. RNIB wanted a cost-effective solution to help improve their personal safety, especially as some of the staff are visually and/or hearing impaired.

Every organisation in the UK is required to fulfil a legal and moral Duty of Care towards their employees. Safe working arrangements for lone workers are no different to organising the safety of other employees. Failure to adequately meet this Duty of Care can lead to significant fines under various forms of legislation, including the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999) and the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act (2007).

As one of the most well-known and respected charities in the United Kingdom, RNIB understands the importance of lone worker protection, both from a standpoint of personal wellbeing as well as the charity’s reputation. In the event of a serious incident, not only can inadequate protection of your employees lead to significant fines but will also sully an organisation’s reputation… highly damaging especially if reliant on public support for fundraising.

The Solution

RNIB turned to Guardian24 – the UK and Ireland’s leading lone worker support service, to provide their lone workers with added protection whilst carrying out their daily duties. Key in their decision to adopt the service was “the ability to work across multiple mobile devices and to introduce a more technical approach to our lone working management” as stated by Glenn Hurst of the RNIB Supplier Management Team.

Users of Guardian24’s smartphone application can leave details of their movements and whereabouts via their mobile phone. It’s been designed for ease of use, so users can quickly and simply enter their details. If a user fails to notify the system when they finish a set task, Guardian24 will attempt to contact them. If they do not answer and their safety cannot be verified, Guardian24 will then escalate the incident conforming to RNIB’s personalised emergency procedures.

If a user feels at risk, they can also call for help via the ‘Panic Alarm’ function by pressing an assigned key on their mobile device, even if it is locked or in standby mode. This will call Guardian24’s dedicated 24 hour Alarm Receiving Centre, who will listen in to the incident and assess the response needed. Using the GPS capability of the phone, the lone worker can also be easily located. All recordings are saved and can be used as evidence in court if required.

The application, an easy install on all major smartphone operating systems, comes with a wealth of options including GPS tracking and locating… as Glenn Hurst describes, “The ability to review the last known location of the individual” is the most impressive part of Guardian24’s service.

The Benefits

Because no hardware is involved, the service is impressively cost-effective. There are often budget challenges, especially for charities who aim to apportion the majority of income on their core objectives. With Guardian24’s smartphone application, there’s no upfront cost and only a minimal periodic subscription to the service to pay.

There will always be budget challenges in getting something like this approved. So, the more cost effective the solution, the better it is for all.

Glenn Hurst of the RNIB Supplier Management Team

However, it’s not just about cost, but also finding the right balance for lone worker provision based upon the employee’s needs. Glenn Hurst elaborates… “Some of the staff at RNIB using this service are visually and/or hearing impaired.  This service meets their needs as well as providing an excellent, easy to use lone worker reporting and monitoring tool.”

Now, RNIB’s lone workers can also feel more confident in the knowledge that they aren’t alone should they find themselves in a difficult position. From an organisation’s perspective, RNIB can be confident in the knowledge that they are compliant with stringent lone working legislation and are helping to fulfil their Duty of Care to their employees.

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