The security industry must consider many factors such as adequate PPE to make sure that its staff are protected after figures published this week show that people in the sector run the highest risk of dying from coronavirus.
Office of National Statistics findings indicate that workers in low-skilled jobs are the most likely to die after contracting Covid-19 – and male security guards were among those with the highest death rates.
Abbey Petkar of Magenta Security Services said: “There is no denying the fact that the figures suggest security guards are at high risk – but let’s not forget that their dedication means they have continued to work throughout the crisis and the industry has a proportionally high level of BAME males.
“These two factors mean we have a statistically more at-risk workforce demographic putting themselves in higher-risk situations. The ONS report also contains a number of caveats around the data that must also be considered, rather than just focusing on the headlines. The report, for example, does not take into consideration who else a guard might be living with and their occupations, residential status or a number of other factors that could increase risk.
He added: “Security guards are ultimately part of a front line, people-facing workforce. This means they are at more risk than those able to stay at home. Therefore, those of us managing them must do our utmost to protect them. However, ultimately there is no reason they should be higher risk than many others in similar occupations if the right measures are in place to support them. Yes, they are more likely to come into contact with other people, they are more likely to handle goods due to postal deliveries etc, and are more likely to be the first person someone speaks to when they walk on to commercial premises but we can protect them if we make it our priority.
“Professional security companies need to consider all of these factors when putting in place plans, policies and subsequent equipment to protect our workforce. PPE is of course high on the list, but so are the many other measures that can and must be considered to ensure our industry is not used as a poster statistic."
Petkar added that companies needed to consider how technology can be used more effectively, to "limit physical contact and put significant barriers in place to eliminate the transfer of germs". He said: “Technology will be a part of so many solutions to this crisis and our industry is no different. How are we using it and how can we use it better? Also, we need to consider what ideas can we draw from other industries.
“Most importantly, we need to teach our guards to protect themselves; we need to instil in them an understanding of the risks, an understanding of what can be done to mitigate them, and quite frankly an understanding of when they can put their own health first and when a request is unreasonable and should be referred to management.”
“On the whole, a security guard usually works alone and therefore social distancing measures should not be difficult to put in place. They should all be reminded of the need for face coverings when necessary (particularly on public transport), the relevant use of gloves and frequent handwashing.
“I really believe that it is this understanding and learning that will allow them to be safer, it is our responsibility as managers to do this and I implore the whole industry to do everything they can to minimise risks for all.”