With darker nights approaching and the colder weather moving in, businesses need to prepare for a range of circumstances that will impact their people, properties and sites during this time. Within this blog, we will examine the effect that these factors will have on lone workers, property maintenance and site security managers and how businesses and organisations can best prepare themselves for these inevitable challenges.
Lone working carries significant risks throughout the year, however during the darker mornings and evenings, the risks increase for many workers within the property agent and house builder industries. As staff often work alone, meeting new customers and suppliers in closed property environments, this type of role is already considered high risk. During the darker hours, this risk will increase as staff will operate in lower light environments when visiting properties, walking across car parks, accessing alleyways etc, which can be more dangerous and often quite stressful for the person.
We would recommend that all property appointments are scheduled during ‘daylight’ hours and higher risk scenarios such as dangerous districts, alleyways or car parks are avoided altogether during early mornings or evenings. Police reports suggest that many attacks are usually of a predatory nature and tend to occur when visibility is low, as there is less chance of them being seen or identified.
Our blog, ‘Lone Workers – Safety Tips for Property Managers’ covers a range of other safety precautions that property managers and house builders can implement to increase their safety all year round, so we would certainly suggest reading those tips when you get chance.
In a more unusual scenario, we were delighted to recently work with our customer, Places for People, to help support one of their employees, Clare Moore who set herself an incredible challenge to run the Virtual London Marathon to raise money for Children in Need. We were able to support Clare with our RedAlert Smartphone App, to help keep her safe during the long evenings and early mornings of training.
Clare had this to say “I have recently trained for the Virtual London Marathon and was fortunate to be able to use the Orbis Red Alert Protect App. I always take my phone with me when I run to give me security should I need to contact someone, but having the App gave me an added level of safety knowing that I can alert someone if I needed and also just to be there on the end of the phone if I felt unsafe. Fortunately, I didn’t have to alert anyone but having it there gave me that extra bit of security. The support I received from Orbit Protect was excellent and really appreciate their guidance in using the App.”
This is a great example of how our lone working devices can help to improve the confidence and safety of users, particularly during the darker hours.
Fly-tipping incidents are more likely to happen during low light hours, where offenders will often take advantage of lower population activity and therefore less risk of being caught and identified. To help prevent this during the darker hours, we would recommend installing appropriate lighting to improve the visibility of more secluded areas. CCTV cameras can also help to catch and identify fly-tippers whilst also significantly improving security, consider CCTV systems with night vision or infra-red capabilities to remain effective 24/7.
Construction sites today are witnessing an increase in criminal activity such as fly-tipping, plant and material theft, costing the industry over £800m per year in the UK alone. CEO, Brian Berry from the Federation of Master Builders, stated: “More than half of builders in the UK have fallen foul of theft with concerns growing over a crime wave wreaking havoc across the construction industry. Tools are being stolen from vans and direct from construction sites, with some builders even being assaulted by would-be thieves…”
In our blog ‘Effective security measures for construction sites’ we examine fly-tipping, plant and material theft and how companies can best protect themselves against these types of crime.
CCTV security not only protects your site, people and assets, but it can also provide health and safety monitoring too. With the colder months drawing in, wind, freezing rain and ice can make construction sites more dangerous. Our range of CCTV towers can monitor active areas for accidents, safety hazards and even PPE standards to ensure that site risks are kept to a minimum.
During the colder months, vacant properties should undergo a ‘drain down’ which involves stopping the water supply at the stopcock and draining out all excess water sat in the systems so that the pipes in the property are empty. By following this process, you can ensure there will be no burst pipes whilst you are away. This is particularly relevant during colder months when water in the pipes can freeze, expand or split pipes which will leak water into the property causing significant damage to internal and external fixtures.
With the wetter weather approaching, properties in flood-zones are at a higher risk during these months. Although flood water can move extremely quickly, many property owners will know well in advance that their property is at risk of flooding. It is essential that they prepare properties accordingly to reduce the risk of water getting inside and to reduce the damage caused by flood water if the worst happens. In our blog ‘Property flooding – prevention, safety and repair advice’ we offer a range of advice for property managers to help prevent flooding issues.
Mould isn’t just an unsightly issue, its presence is highly damaging to both property and people. Particularly during the winter when the cold and wet conditions are higher, mould can lead to serious health issues such as asthma, respiratory infections, skin conditions and more. Ensuring walls are adequately insulated, rooms are well ventilated and drains and guttering are clear of debris can help to minimise the chance of mould within a property.
Vermin issues could be listed in either the property or site category as October is the time when rats and mice start to move indoors for warmth and alternative food sources. According to multiple recent articles, there have been reports of giant rats ‘the size of cats’ invading homes and businesses throughout the UK. To try and minimise this risk, ensure bin areas are secure and no food waste is present nearby, and if any rats are spotted near your property or site, you should seek professional pest control advice to ensure that damages don’t escalate out of control.
We hope that this blog has been useful in demonstrating how the darker, colder months can have a serious impact on businesses and people and also how preparation is key to avoiding larger headaches in the future. As the leading provider of vacant property, site security and lone worker protection services, our aim is to provide our customers with practical advice, great value and service and the convenience of one point of contact for all enquiries, rather than dealing with multiple suppliers.
We have supported our customers with these types of essential services for many years, providing them with significant added value and peace of mind. If you would like a quick chat for any advice on any of these issues, then please get in touch today and we will be happy to help.
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