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October 2006
>> Appointments
Argyll welcomes aboard four new members of staff:

Briony Bruce, Business Development Executive

Keith Melvin, Software Engineer

George Banks, Control Room Operator

Andy Byron, Control Room Operator

Argyll has also strengthened its Board with the appointment of Ken McGeoch as Financial Director. The appointment follows rapid expansion for the company, which is a market leader in technological solutions to support employers and their lone worker employees.

June 2006
>> IdentiCare used in Shaw Trust film to highlight innovative new technologies
IdentiCare, the technologically advanced system for lone worker safety monitoring, has taken centre stage with other innovative technologies in a short film produced by O2 and the Shaw Trust to be shown at a Government Conference this summer. The film shows real life situations to illustrate how Shaw Trust ’s partnership with Argyll and O2 will provide its employees with additional efficiency and safety.

Shaw Trust is a national charity that provides training and work opportunities for people who are disadvantaged in the labour market due to disability, ill health or other social circumstances. It is the largest UK provider of employment services for disabled people and helps people across the UK to achieve their personal development and employment aims.

IdentiCare, the only lone safety device shown in the film, is used to demonstrate how new technology, with the support of telecom companies like O2, is being used to assist employers in meeting their duty of care obligations and enhance safety for lone workers. Looking like a normal ID holder but equipped with a dual or tri-band GSM module, GSM SIM card, lithium battery and control electronics, IdentiCare not only enables the lone worker to discreetly raise an alarm if threatened, but also allows Argyll to listen to what is happening and record events whatever the distance. The device also supports the pinpointing of a worker’s location using a combination of time at risk management, voice recording and sophisticated Cell location technologies.

Provided to the Shaw Trust by Argyll as part of a phased roll-out plan, the IdentiCare technology is explained through a filmed sequence of events. Firstly a Shaw Trust Outreach Worker is shown recording her location using the IdentiCare, then it cuts to the Argyll Seeker application that enables colleagues to view her location displayed on Ordnance Survey maps. Finally the Outreach Worker talks about IdentiCare and how it provides her with reassurance when working.

Other technologies included in the film are a Digipen for automated forms; a BlackBerry® for talking to the digipen; Instant Messaging and 3G. The three minute film will be shown on a rolling loop throughout the day of the conference.

Commenting Neil Prior, O2 Acquisition Manager, Government & Utilities Sector, said: “Through our partnerships with the developers of new technologies, such as Identicom, we are able to bring a range of efficiency and safety benefits to government bodies and organisations such as the Shaw Trust.”

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February 2006
>> New technologies aid lone worker safety
Featured in Public Sector Executive magazine, Feb 2006
Many lone workers are faced with violence, confrontation and physical or verbal abuse. In some occupations this is commonplace though it could be viewed as an extreme occurrence in others. All lone workers however face ‘lower’ perceived risks and these can be road-rage, accidents and ill health.

Irrespective of the risks encountered, employers of lone workers must ensure compliance with the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work (MHSW) Regulations 1999; however employers are frequently unsure of what they need to do to effect a ‘safe’ working environment.

The Health and Safety Executive is an obvious first step and has produced an informative leaflet, entitled Working Alone in Safety, that offers general lone worker safety advice to employers. The leaflet outlines a number of possible monitoring solutions and the HSE website also offer informative industry case studies to assist.

Even after careful risk assessments employers often resort to flawed manual document or informal buddy type systems and equally, an employer will not entirely satisfy risk assessments or legislation by simply issuing a mobile handset or device such as a ‘panic alarm’. In reality they may not have fully considered their obligations eg. What procedures need to be implemented, what guidance have they given staff, do they have written lone worker policies and what safety precautions will be sufficient to satisfy the legislation? How do they ensure that a lone worker has completed their day safely; can they respond to an incident after ‘normal’ business hours; can they categorically state their policy ensures workers have returned safely home and if they cannot answer yes to the foregoing then how can they expect management to accept the responsibility for a colleagues safety?

What is abundantly clear is that employers have to consider many factors including:

  • “Regular contact between the lone worker and supervision using either a telephone or radio” and
  • “Devices designed to raise the alarm in the event of an emergency and which are operated manually or automatically by the absence of activity”

Technology can assist however the Internet is currently overflowing with devices and services claiming to ‘protect’ the lone worker. So how can an employer meet the obligations and choose with confidence?

One such option is to outsource, choosing an effective and credible expert who can manage your workforce safety and guide you through the considerations simultaneously providing you with access to shared information sources. Over 15,000 lone workers in the UK currently choose Scottish based provider Argyll as their partner in staff safety. The company operates a dedicated 24 hour and 365 day lone worker safety monitoring service and boasts an impressive client list that includes NHS, Local Authorities, Charities, Utilities and public agencies.

Key to their success is their unique ability to harness sophisticated and innovative new technologies that are linked to Argyll’s permanently staffed lone worker control room. These technologies are then customised to each individual client’s requirements. Services enable proper remote management of personnel and operate in conjunction with the client’s standard issue mobile phones or with the latest mobile devices such as Blackberry™. This unique ‘open platform’ enables Argyll to integrate almost any mobile device currently in use by the mobile networks. This flexibility ensures that employers have no need to purchase alternative health & safety equipments.

Lone workers, whose activities involve dealing with members of the public, face potentially violent situations on almost a daily basis. Recent figures published indicate that in some industry sectors (including property, healthcare, passenger transport and civil service) lone workers experience a particularly high rate of both verbal and physical assault. There is a growing level of fear of attack among British workers because the trend of violence against staff has risen steadily over the last two years.

Under these circumstances staff need an effective duress alarm facility that allows them to summon immediate assistance. Although perfectly suitable for most applications, it can be argued that the use of a mobile phone during such a situation could exacerbate the incident and become the catalyst to create a flashpoint. Argyll offers clients a range of specific for purpose devices such as MaxCare; MobiCare; IdentiCare and SiteCare that are all capable of activating a discreet alarm without placing the worker in further jeopardy. These special devices also cater for clients with ‘special needs’ e.g. the hard of hearing or visually impaired or extremely high risk occupations and each device is designed for maximum comfort and resilience thereby ensuring suitability for almost any occupation or physical preference.

Argyll provides highly trained operators available to respond instantly to a lone workers duress signal. An agreed incident management procedure is then initiated, which can involve summoning police assistance to the user’s location. Full voice recording allows for all incidents to be captured and, if necessary, used as evidence in court.

Services are further enhanced through the use of superior location mapping technologies; including Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) and Mobile Cellsite ID location (using a basic form of triangulation) that enable Argyll to find the location of staff within accuracies of 10 metres

In addition to meeting the employers statutory compliance requirements, provision of this type of technology in support of the health & safety of staff also provides the employer with other potential areas of benefit such as: improvement in employer-staff relations through fulfilment of the moral duty of care; reduced absenteeism attributed to stress and increased productivity through effective deployment of resources. In obtaining access to the location of staff web-based mapping technologies provide additional logistical benefits to employers, allowing the position of staff and assets to be traced.

Last year, Argyll and Lancashire Ambulance Service, in association with Orange™ and the NHS Security Management Service, ran a series of Lone Workers Are Not Alone roadshows. With the combined expertise of each organisation, the events helped to increase awareness pertaining to all aspects of lone working. Due to the success of the events, with high turnout figures and positive feedback from attendees, Argyll will be holding further roadshows throughout 2006.

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