Lone Worker Safety for Estate Agents and Surveyors
Only 22% of estate and letting agents feel safe during viewings. So what are the risks and how can estate agents and surveyors protect themselves?
Following the disappearance of Suzy Lamplugh in 1986, there has been a much greater focus on safety in the estate agency and surveying sectors. However, many businesses still allow their colleagues to enter multiple properties daily, on their own, without any means to call for help in an emergency – other than a mobile phone. Unfortunately, in a violent or aggressive situation, making a 999 call can cause an incident to spiral.
In fact, a recent survey of 150 agents showed that just 22% of estate and letting agents feel safe when on viewings. And a whopping 82% said estate agent safety isn’t taken seriously enough.
So what are the risks and how can estate agents and surveyors protect themselves? …
What are the risks associated with estate agency and surveying?
The risks associated with estate agency and surveying can include:
- Verbal abuse
- Physical assault
- Accidents such as slips, trips and falls (especially falls from ladders)
- Getting trapped in small or subterranean spaces (e.g. loft spaces or cellars)
- Exposure to hazardous substances
- Aggressive animals
- Driving (travelling between multiple appointments – sometimes in unknown areas).
All these risks can be exacerbated by working alone as there’s no one around to provide any support should an incident occur.
Examples of attacks on estate agents and surveyors
Unfortunately, there are several recent examples where estate agents and surveyors have been attacked, robbed, or injured while carrying out their duties.
In one such incident in 2019, a surveyor was attacked and robbed while carrying out a property inspection in Birmingham. The surveyor was reportedly beaten with a metal bar and had his car and equipment stolen.
Similarly, in 2017, an estate agent was sexually assaulted by a man posing as a potential buyer during a property viewing in Greater Manchester. The perpetrator was later sentenced to six years in prison for his actions.
These types of incidents highlight the potential dangers that estate agents and surveyors face when working alone. It is, therefore, crucial for them to take proactive measures to protect themselves from risk.
How do I protect myself from risk as an estate agent or surveyor?
One way to increase the safety of estate agents and surveyors is through the use of lone worker safety devices or apps. These devices are specifically designed to protect individuals working alone in potentially dangerous situations.
They give workers peace of mind that they can call for help in an emergency at the push of a button (Red Alert). The SoloProtect solution puts a call through to our Alarm Receiving Centre where operators discreetly listen in to the incident and quickly locate the device and initiate an appropriate response e.g. calling the police, an ambulance or a colleague.
The device will also detect a "man down" scenario creating an Incapacitation Alert. Once again, operators will quickly send help to wear it’s needed.
But not all the safety features are reactive (i.e. after the event). Our unique, proactive Ready2Talk feature allows the device/app user to be chaperoned by an operator in situations where there’s a clear safety risk i.e. entering a property when you can hear shouting inside or an aggressive dog barking.
Take a look at our full range of features.
Safety tips for estate agents and surveyors
Unfortunately, according to the statistics, women are more at risk than men. However, an incident can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Therefore, all estate agents and surveyors, male and female, should be mindful of how they can best protect themselves and their colleagues from harm.
Here are some safety tips to consider for both male and female estate agents and surveyors:
- If you’re in the office alone, keep the door locked, only allowing entry to people who have pre-booked an appointment. If you’re on the high street, make it look like other desks are occupied e.g. turn on computer screens.
- Always let your colleagues know where you are going, who you’re going to meet and when you’re expecting to be back.
- Take the address and contact details of who you will be meeting so you can try to verify them before the meeting.
- Always let clients go first when entering and walking around a house, flat or office and leave all of the internal doors open.
- Taking a self-defence class may teach you how to spot the signs of a potential incident and how to protect yourself if something does happen.
- Take a colleague to any properties or areas where there have previously been incidents.
- Try to avoid night-time appointments whenever possible – particularly if you’re planning on meeting someone new or going to an unknown property.
- Avoid getting into a vehicle with a client.
- In the winter months, carry a torch to ensure you can see where you’re going in the darkness. This can help to avoid slips, trips and falls.
- Always ensure your phone is charged and you carry it with you.
- Carry a lone worker safety device such as the SoloProtect ID Classic or SoloProtect ID Touch. These will give you a means to discreetly call for help if your personal safety is under threat. They will also detect if you are incapacitated.
- Trust your gut! If you feel uncomfortable, leave the appointment and reschedule if necessary. There’s nothing more important than your safety!
We offer solutions for as little as £3 per user per month.