5 Tips to Enhance Workplace Safety with Efficient Duress Procedures
Incidents of violence and hostility can strike anywhere, at any time. For employees, this uncertainty means that the need for a reliable alert system is paramount.
Duress alarms emerge as a solution with the ability to connect employees to support at the click of a button. This is especially crucial for remote and lone workers who are at times dealing with aggressive patients, clients, or members of the public. The inherent unpredictability of solitary work environments unfortunately renders these individuals more vulnerable.
Providing essential safety measures like duress alarms is a good first step, however, it is also important that employees are adequately trained and empowered to use them effectively. This entails understanding when, how, and why to activate a duress alarm, as well as establishing a well-coordinated team response.
We recognise the legitimate concerns and vulnerabilities of remote and lone workers, so our objective in this blog post and our associated training sessions is to equip employees with the information and strategies essential for navigating these challenges adeptly and ensuring their safety.
What are duress alarms?
Duress alarms are electronic devices designed to discreetly alert others in the event of an emergency, threat, or dangerous situation.
These alarms are often used for the elderly or for people living alone who may require immediate assistance. In the workplace, they are used by employees who may encounter difficult or dangerous individuals. These employees may spend time working one-on-one with patients or clients and therefore, direct communication with others is important for their safety.
When activated, duress alarms can trigger notifications, sound alarms, or send distress signals to designated individuals, security personnel, or emergency services. They are particularly valuable for personal safety, workplace security, and in situations where immediate response is essential.
What are the advantages of duress alarms?
Duress alarms offer a wide array of benefits that contribute to the safety and well-being of individuals in various situations.
Immediate Emergency Alert
Duress alarms provide an immediate alert in cases of emergency or danger. This rapid response capability ensures that help can reach the individual swiftly, minimising harm, property damage, and escalation.
Discreet Distress Signals
One of the key benefits of duress alarms is their discretion. In situations where individuals are dealing with difficult, hostile, or dangerous people, these alarms allow them to request help and backup without alerting or further aggravating the aggressor.
Location Tracking and Identification
Duress alarms often come equipped with location-tracking capabilities. This means that when individuals activate the alarm, their precise location can be quickly and easily pinpointed. This feature is invaluable for ensuring that help arrives as quickly as possible, especially in large or complex environments.
Another advantage of duress alarms is their seamless integration into various devices. They can be easily incorporated into smartphones, watches, or wearable buttons that are readily accessible. This approach enhances their usability and ensures that individuals can trigger the alarm swiftly when needed.
These benefits not only enhance the safety of employees but also have a positive impact on their overall well-being and morale. Duress alarms act as a safety net by providing reassurance that support is consistently available and can be promptly provided in times of distress.
How do you ensure efficiency with duress alarms?
Many staff do not know when, how or why to call a duress, or what happens when one is called. To ensure that all staff are aware and adequately equipped to address a duress situation, organisations would benefit from following these steps:
- Establish duress policies and procedures.
To begin, it is vital to have well-defined duress policies and procedures in place. These guidelines should clearly outline the functions of the duress alarm, when and how to use one, and what happens when one is activated. It is important that these policies are easily accessible and communicated thoroughly to all staff members.
- Introduce duress policies and procedures during the induction of new staff.
As new staff members join your organisation, integrate duress alarm policies and procedures into their induction process. Ensure that they are aware of how to use duress alarms and how to respond when one is activated. This initial training will empower new employees to act accordingly in duress situations from day one.
- Drill the duress procedures.
Practice makes perfect. Conduct duress alarm drills regularly, preferably every three months. These drills should encompass the activation and response to a duress alarm. The objective is to familiarise staff with the process and to identify any areas that may need improvement. Drills help ensure your team responds swiftly and effectively in real duress situations.
- Debrief all duress incidents.
After a duress situation occurs, take the time to debrief with your staff. Discuss what went well during the incident and areas where improvements can be made. By analysing the response and performance in real-life scenarios, you can refine your procedures, resulting in smoother operations and reduced harm to your team in future incidents.
- Test remote duress alarms as well.
It is not only the on-site staff who need protection but the remote workers as well. Implement a ‘back-to-base monitoring’ approach to test duress alarms when remote workers are operating outside the organisation’s physical location. Ensure that these alarms are fully functional and capable of summoning immediate assistance.
Resolution Education provides comprehensive occupational violence training that addresses each of these steps. We collaborate with your organisation to review policies, establish efficient procedures, and enhance employee morale by boosting confidence, skills, and understanding of personal safety.
Duress alarms are indispensable tools for ensuring the safety and well-being of employees, particularly remote and lone workers. These discreet devices offer immediate emergency alerts, location tracking, and seamless integration into everyday devices, providing a safety net that can be vital in times of distress.
To maximise the effectiveness of duress alarms, it is essential for organisations to establish clear policies and procedures, integrate training into employee inductions, conduct regular drills, and debrief after incidents. By following these steps, organisations can empower their staff to respond swiftly and effectively in duress situations, ultimately enhancing workplace safety and mitigating risks.
For training on duress alarm procedures, fill in the form below. We will help you establish policies and procedures to enhance the well-being and confidence of your team.