Headlines: August 17th, 2001

An expert in public sector risk management is warning of the increased dangers to its lone working staff.And Zurich Municipal warns that the dangers can be enhanced as more and more people working in the public sector take on new ways of working.

The 2000 British Crime Survey points to 1.3 million incidents of violence at work in England and Wales each year, with public sector workers at high risk.

Zurich Municipal, which provides risk service and advice to 90 per cent of UK local authorities, says public sector organizations need to consider their responsibilities for the health, safety and welfare of employees beyond the traditional workplace such as from home or in the community.

Zurich Municipal has worked with a number of public service providers to review existing working practices for lone workers. Among the methods for improving safety have been: tracking employees so that colleagues can spot any unexpected change in schedule, varying rotas or routines for those transporting money, employing security guards, and conducting interviews in specially protected rooms.