Retail sales - Claims inspectors and financial Advisers
Work-related violence case studies
Zurich offers a wide range of financial services including protection, investment and pensions, as well as motor, home and travel insurance.
Employing more than 12000 people in the UK, Zurich has a presence in most major towns and cities. While the majority of its people work in major administration centres, a small percentage are termed lone workers. This involves working alone from home, or in the field, and visiting clients' homes or business premises to give face to face advice on insurance needs and to assess insurance claims.
- Visiting clients in unfamiliar industrial and domestic premises.
- Travelling alone to potentially dangerous areas.
- Visiting unoccupied buildings.
- Late night working on business appointments.
- Carrying hi tech equipment - mobile phones, IT equipment etc.
Training and information
Zurich runs two main courses with the following aims:
'A Guide to Personal Safety' covers risk perception; body language; planning ahead; communication; walking out and about; driving, parking; limitations of personal attack alarms; office diaries, etc.
- To increase awareness of personal safety issues.
- To understand the importance of being aware.
- To learn how to be in control.
'Looking after Number One' Workshop covers self-monitoring; diverting aggression (verbal and body language); vehicle and bag security; and general awareness in certain situations (eg being followed, cash transit, dealing with youths and summoning assistance).
- To develop security awareness at work, and outside the office.
- To reduce the risk of threats to personal security.
- How to prevent and deal with risky situations.
Training packs, videos and presentations: training packs and videos are available for all staff. Presentations from organisations such as the Suzy Lamplugh Trust also raise awareness of risks and key issues. Health and safety guidance notes and booklets: these are issued to all staff and are also permanently available on the company intranet. Regular updates are issued in a timely way to co-ordinate with awareness weeks or other high profile campaigns.
Security policies: Advice and information is provided for employees travelling abroad, including the latest Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice, contact details and procedures.
Full itinerary: Employees are requested to provide a full itinerary when they travel abroad on business.
Emergency Services liaison: Zurich works closely with the emergency services to seek advice on how to deal with security risks.
Telephone counselling service: employees have access to a telephone helpline if they have been affected by crime, violence or a security alert.
Work environment and equipment
Work patterns: Zurich limits night-time and weekend work by lone employees by restricting out of hours access to the office.
Buddy systems: for example, 'twilight' staff can use an escort or a security guard when returning to their cars.
Mobile phones: the company provides mobile or car phones to enable employees to keep in touch.
Self-risk assessments: managers and employees are encouraged to continually risk-assess the jobs that they/their teams do and the places they visit.
Electronic diary system: the office calendar keeps up-to-date details of appointments so managers and team members know where individuals are. Employees are also encouraged to tell someone where they are going and when they are due to arrive and leave.
Less successful measures
Self-defence classes: These may create a false sense of security. The company considers it is better to focus on prevention by encouraging staff to plan ahead and deal with risks.
Reactive approaches: Zurich feels it is more beneficial to focus on prevention, and therefore gives employees the skills to deal with situations reactively.
Non-compliance: employees don't always read the safety booklets, take advantage of available resources, or follow set procedures.
The benefits and the costs
- Employees have peace of mind and feel more safe and secure.
- Staff feel better informed and know there are resources available if they need them.
- Everyone has an improved and more accurate perception of danger.
- Recruitment and retention has improved.
- It contributes towards good employee relations
- Awareness campaigns, communication and information booklets have a minimal cost.
- Corporate violence presentations/events may seem expensive but in costs 'per head' terms they are good value. They also tend to be more effective than booklets because they bring the subject alive.
- The company has reduced a two-day training course to a four-hour, cost-effective workshop.
- Preventative measures are good value compared to the harm or distress caused to employees or the risks posed to the business if laptops and data files are stolen.