Managing Risks to Security Officers during Covid

Samuel Jonas, Head of Global Sales, Titan Security Europe

There’s no doubt about it, Covid-19 has rapidly changed the security guarding landscape. Thousands of jobs disappeared over night, with tens of thousands of security guards being furloughed or put on indefinite hold. At the same time, more jobs have sprung up as businesses and vital institutions close their doors and send their personnel home, leaving vital assets unprotected.

Security guards have become essential workers in their own rights, with a key need to protect closed businesses and to provide security assistance in public spaces where additional security is needed for continuing operations.

With changing work patterns and customer needs there’s a need to address questions about what changes we should make to manage security guard risks.

Should Security Guards be Issued with PPE?

The answer to this question depends on 2 factors. 1. Are the security guards public facing? 2. Are the security guards working in a team?

If security guards are public facing in supermarkets, office blocks or other accessible locations they are at much higher risks of contracting the virus. If they have to perform manual security checks on visitors for access control then even more so. These teams should be issued with gloves and masks to reduce their risks.

If security guards are working in teams, where segregation of team members isn’t possible gloves and masks can provide an extra degree of protection, getting your members to wear them may be problematic however. We have found a better approach is to try and change the behaviour of teams.

Should Security Guards Still Work in Teams?

For some locations not having security teams is impossible. In these situations we’ve found that our best practice is to adjust the ways in which the teams operate and interact. This is site dependent but these are the best options;

1. Have separate positions for each team member to occupy during their shift
2. Use remote communication devices for the team to keep in touch
3. Ensure mobile patrols comprise of no more than 2 team members, ideally just one.
4. Ensure shift handovers are completed over radio or other communication devices to reduce team contact.

What Additional Training Should Security Guards be Given?

For these changes to be impactful we need to ensure that all our security personnel are trained properly. At Titan we have been hosting teleconferences to provide updates to our teams and making use of video conferencing software like Zoon to manage our teams on the ground. Overall we’ve had a positive response from our teams and we are hoping to maintain full security team uptime across Europe despite the additional logistical and personnel problems we are all currently facing.

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