Personal Security

Last reviewed on 05/11/2012 14:43

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A secure workplace

Every firm should have a Visitors' Book prominently displayed at Reception. You should ensure that all visitors to your premises sign in with their details. There are a number of reasons why this is important, particularly for safety reasons; this procedure will enable you to keep track of who is in the building, and where they are. This will be important in times of emergency evacuation of the premises or a fire safety incident. It might also be of help if there were an incident affecting personal security.

'Personal security' covers issues such as violence and aggression in the workplace, whether from employers, fellow employees, visitors or the public.

The Health and Safety Executive’s definition of work-related violence is: ‘any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work’. So, 'violence' can range from a life-threatening physical attack to verbal abuse.

Unfortunately, verbal abuse and threats are relatively common – actual physical attacks, thankfully, are still comparatively rare.

Dealing with violence

As an employer, you need to ensure that your workplace is as free as possible from the danger of violence. For example, if a female employee has to work late and is alone in the office, what hazards could she face?

You have a duty to identify and deal with any potential risk to your employees. Working through this four-stage process should help you ensure a trouble free environment at work:

  • Finding out if you have a problem - have you or any of your employees been subjected to violence in any form?
  • Deciding what action to take - what's the best way to prevent it happening again?
  • Taking the appropriate action - hiring a security guard? Issuing each employee with a key to the office? Setting up a hotline to the local police station?
  • Checking what you have done - have there been any more incidents? If so, did the new measure help? If not, why not?

Lone workers

You have a special obligation towards any employee who works alone in the workplace, at whatever time of day. It is your duty to assess the risks to such lone workers (office cleaners, the computer programmer who doesn't want to go home, the secretary trying to get a report finished) and to take steps to avoid or control these risks. The potential areas of concern include:

  • safe ways in and out of the premises
  • access to first aid equipment, fire extinguishers, etc.
  • safe use of equipment and plant by one person
  • safety of the workplace for a lone woman or young person.


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→ Download our Risk Assessment Form

→ Download our Risk Assessment Form - Worked Example

→ Visit our page on Violence and Agression

→ Visit our page on Lone Working

→ Visit Violence at Work (external site)

→ Read Working Alone in Safety (external site)