“The MicroGuard is a really user friendly device. It’s easy to operate and has great functionality.”
Orbit is a housing organisation owning and managing 40,000 homes and providing services to around 100,000 customers. It operates in the Midlands, East and South East regions, and parts of London. With over 1,200 staff, Orbit serves some of the most vulnerable people in the community, through providing sheltered and supported housing as well as a range of specialist services.
Covering such a large geographical area, some of the 1,200 employees have to conduct daily duties on their own. Working with a wide range of customers, many of Orbit’s staff work predominantly in the community. The roles which entail lone working are diverse and range from housing officers visiting customers to caretakers and handymen.
As with many other housing associations who provide services in the community, staff may often face challenging circumstances in the course of their work. For example, this may include dealing with aggressive or abusive members of the public, resolving difficult circumstances with customers or accidents whilst using tools or machinery.
Orbit is committed to the health, safety and well-being of its employees and this extends to lone workers. Orbit’s conclusion was that all lone working staff require a means to call for assistance should they find themselves in a difficult situation.
“The support given for our initial roll out of devices to our staff was excellent. Training for device users and managers was provided and encompassed not only the fundamentals of using the device but also personal safety awareness training.”
Having trialled a number of lone worker protection solutions, Orbit chose Guardian24’s MicroGuard personal safety device.
The MicroGuard is a small, keyfob-style unit linking directly to Guardians24’s fully accredited 24 hour operated Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). If a user feels at risk, they can press the ‘SOS’ button on the device. This will call controller at the ARC who will open a two-way audio channel and assess the response needed. Controllers will instantly know who is calling, call up their personal details and see a live GPS location of the user via an on-screen map. They’ll assess the situation and direct the appropriate emergency response to them. Controllers can bypass the 999 system and directly contact the local police control room, thus saving valuable time. All incidents are recorded, saved and can be used as evidence in court if required.
As Lorraine Taylor, health and safety assurance team leader, explains: “The MicroGuard is a really user friendly device. It’s easy to operate and has great functionality.”
Although Orbit required over 300 devices, implementation and roll out was quick and easy. Training for both users and managers was comprehensively delivered.
“We’ve found the whole team at Guardian24 to be extremely helpful. Calls and emails are answered promptly and efficiently. The level of support offered for roll out programmes has been of a high standard and ongoing with regular catch up calls to ensure the system is giving us what we need.”
Working closely with Orbit, Guardian24 have ensured that a pro-active health and safety culture has been embedded within the organisation’s lone workers.
The service is so easy to use. Combined with the confidence gained via the thorough training methods delivered, device usage has consistently remained at over 90%. This ensures that Orbit has confidence that in the event of an incident, lone worker’s safety is in professional hands, whenever and wherever needed.