Personal safety tips for the workplace
Whether you're a lone or remote worker, or you're based at home or on-site, here are our top tips for ensuring your personal safety at work.
At SoloProtect, we’ve spent nearly 20 years helping organisations of all shapes and sizes to improve workplace safety for their staff.
Over the years, we’ve amassed a plethora of personal safety tips and advice for lone, remote, home-based, and on-site workers. So in this article, are our 15 top tips for ensuring your personal safety at work and at home.
We’ve split our personal safety tips into 3 categories:
- Behavioural safety tips to prompt an awareness of how our behaviours can help to keep us safe,
- Travel safety tips - for maintaining personal safety while moving from A to B, and
- General safety measures and reminders to enhance workplace safety and for sharing with family and friends.
But first, to add some context, it's worth considering the question: "What is personal safety?"...
What is personal safety?
Personal safety has been defined by Suzy Lamplugh Trust as: "An individual’s ability to go about their everyday life free from the threat or fear of psychological, emotional or physical harm from others."
But, in a practical sense, it's an awareness (and proactive avoidance) of situations or people that could cause you harm.
Behavioural personal safety tips
1. Trust your instincts
Remember your dynamic risk assessments and trust your instincts. If you feel uneasy about entering a building or carrying out a specific task, there’s probably a valid reason why. Either remove yourself from the situation or ensure you have personal safety support available should something happen.
2. Watch and listen
It’s important to always be aware of what’s going on around you. Try to avoid wearing headphones or walking along while looking at your phone. If you identify a potential risk early, you can take steps to avoid it.
3. Stay alert when meeting people alone
If you’re meeting someone alone, particularly if you haven’t met them before or they’re known to be high-risk, make sure someone knows where you are and place yourself between them and the door. This will give you an easier exit route if you need it.
4. Be theft aware
Try to avoid carrying valuables with you. If you do need to carry valuables, make sure they’re stored out of sight and if someone tries to grab your bag or your mobile phone, just let it go. Your personal safety is more important.
5. Slow down!
We all rush to get things done which can result in an increased risk of slips, trips, falls, car accidents or substandard dynamic risk assessments. Slow down and contact a colleague if you’re struggling.
Travel personal safety tips
1. Have a plan
If you’re travelling between locations, make sure you’ve planned your route and think about any potential risks. You should also make sure you’re fully aware of your organisation’s health and safety policies and procedures they’re there to keep you safe.
2. Use well-lit routes
If you’re walking or cycling, stick to well-lit, popular routes even if they take longer and make sure you have appropriate reflective clothing for when it's dark.
3. Stay near to others
When travelling by public transport, it can sometimes be tempting to sit in the quietest spot. Sit in a place where there are other people around and know where the exits are.
4. Park wisely
Always try to park in a well-lit, accessible area, have your keys to hand when returning to your car and lock your car doors once inside.
5. Know where you are
Download an app such as what3words to your phone to ensure you can always pinpoint and communicate your exact location.
You can find more personal safety tips for travelling in our article: Tips for a safe, stress-free commute.
General personal safety tips
Make sure a colleague or family member knows what time you’re expected at work and what time you’re due home so they can raise an emergency alarm if you don’t turn up.
2. Be prepared
Ensure you are appropriately prepared for unpredictable weather conditions e.g. carry a torch when it’s dark, wear warm clothing in winter. Why not take a look at our article “working alone at night”?
3. Use a lone worker device or safety app
Use a SoloProtect lone worker device or personal safety application to ensure you can quickly call for help in an emergency.
4. Display ICE details
Save In Case of Emergency contact details to your phone under "ICE". You could also display ICE details on your lock screen.
5. Report incidents
Report any incidents to the police using 101 or use 999 for emergencies.
We hope you will find this blog helpful. Why not share it with your teams and provide examples of when these personal safety measures, such as these, have helped to protect your workers from risk? After all, a small, proactive reminder to avoid carrying valuables, use a well-lit route, or communicate your whereabouts to others, could help to prevent an incident from occurring at home or in the workplace.
Safety tips for lone workers: fact sheet
You can also access Safety Tips for Lone Workers as a downloadable fact sheet. Just click the link and the pdf will download automatically.