A report on progress into the Suzy Lamplugh Trust’s new code - introduced precisely a year ago - suggests more still needs to be done to ensure the safety of agents and other lone property industry workers.
Suzy Lamplugh, an agent in London, went missing during her normal working day in 1986, and was legally declared dead, presumed murdered, in 1994.
Suzy’s Code was introduced a year ago to help protect lone workers in all sectors, but with particular reference to property industry work.
A report on its progress in Safety and Health Practitioner says that in the year since its introduction, parties signing up to the code include Knight Frank and Savills, the Guild of Letting and Management, and the National Association of Estate Agents.
However, it reports the Trust as saying more still needs to be done to improve personal safety in the housing sector and beyond.
Citing the results of an Inside Housing survey, it says housing association and council officers suffered more than 200 physical attacks last year; it does not specify how many lettings or estate agents suffered attacks.
“In 2016-17, approximately one housing staff member was either verbally or physically assaulted every 35 working minutes. With reports of racial abuse, death threats and physical attacks, it is clear that organisations must continue to implement and improve personal safety procedures to keep staff safe.”
Suzy’s Code sets out seven steps for agents and others to take to increase the personal safety of employees:
1. Implement a buddy system, so colleagues always know each other’s whereabouts and contact details. This should include checking in and out when arriving at and leaving the property, including out of normal office hours;
2. Have a system in place for colleagues to raise the alarm back at the office in case of an emergency while working alone;
3. Have a clear procedure to follow if someone does not return or check in when they are expected;
4. Where possible arrange for viewers to visit the office before meeting them at the property so that colleagues have also seen them;
5. Offer all staff a personal safety alarm and have discreet lone worker devices available;
6. Before conducting a viewing, find out who else will be present in the property (current tenant, contractors etc.) when you visit;
7. Finally, make sure all staff are aware of and have access to the personal safety measures available.