We live in a world today that is becoming less peaceful and more dangerous than ever before, especially with the global prevalence of highly-infectious diseases, such as, COVID-19 or the Coronavirus. As early as 2006, the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) (*1) conducted a workshop that discussed the potential effects on the emergence and spread of infectious disease through the global movement of people, products, decision-making power, and pathogens. The fact that international travel has become one of the fastest-growing industries throughout the world underlines how over a billion tourists each year poses a huge threat of spreading infectious diseases across international borders.
Not only that, the NCBI refers to the way that a plane can be used as an instrument of destruction and terror, as demonstrated by the terrorist attacks on 11th September 2001. This workshop clearly illustrates how personal safety for each one us, particularly now in the midst of COVID-19, has a new and added meaning, since the view expressed is that the transmissibility of such pathogens is likely to be with us for some time.
In 2020, the contemporary meaning of personal safety at work now includes the continuing threat we all face from the transmission of COVID-19. On top of this threat, for those of us still at work, we face the danger of working late and having to travel at night to return home. If we are using public transport, we will be travelling wearing a mask and facing fellow-travellers in masks. Normally, we associate wearing masks with medical professionals, fancy-dress parties or armed criminals. Who would have guessed that wearing masks would be something we are all required to do for personal safety reasons? Additionally, the anonymity factor of wearing a face mask can have a profound effect on the communication between people, as indicated in The Financial Express (*2) below:-
“….a mask can disinhibit its wearer and he/she feels less identifiable. There is a physical barrier between you and the person you’re communicating with as it hides emotions,” says Devendra Niranjan, consultant clinical microbiologist…”
However, most people accept that for the personal safety of the public at large, when travelling and shopping, a face mask is imperative, since it protects not only the wearer but everyone with whom he/she comes in contact. Certainly, as a society, we need to monitor the health and well-being of people wearing masks, because the negative effects are starting to become apparent. For example, in care homes, people living with a dementia may find it difficult to understand why the nurses and carers are wearing masks. They may not even recognise their usual carers, which may present further care problems in the continuation of these important relationships. The person with a dementia would probably never guess that masks are being worn for personal safety reasons.
In actual fact, personal safety at work is undoubtedly further complicated by the existence of COVID-19. The fear of contracting COVID-19 may force other safety issues to pale into insignificance, which is why we must remember that the remaining safety issues within any organisation are still important. Such security concerns include those faced by lone workers, the suspicious package in the mail room, any current issues of safety and protection eg. absence of an alarm system within the building, facing threatening behaviour from a client, and having to meet a stranger within an empty property (Estate Agent’s task).
In the modern climate of today, with all the worries and anxieties, which prevail over COVID-19, we still need to ensure the safety and security of our employees within the workplace and outside of work. You can do this by inviting your staff to undergo training on our Personal Safety Foundation Level course. This course has been designed to cover the topics of the security concerns previously mentioned. At the same time, our Instructors have been trained to deliver this crucial course to help each employee to feel empowered, especially those who work as lone workers and those in a public-facing role. All Staff Defence Instructors are equipped with our COVID-19 Health Policy, which means they conduct the training in alignment with the COVID-19 regulations to ensure the health and well-being of themselves and every delegate. We strongly recommend that you seriously consider the many benefits of this unique training course.
Please feel free to click on the link below to register for the Personal Safety training:-
(*1). A World in Motion – Knobler, Mahmoud, Lemon et al (2006) – National Academies Press https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK56593/
(*2). Behind the Mask: Ubiquitous Mask is Leading to a Lot of Mental Distress and Anxiety in People (August 2020) – Vaishali Dar https://www.financialexpress.com/lifestyle/behind-the-mask-ubiquitous-mask-is-leading-to-a-lot-of-mental-distress-and-anxiety-in-people/2049153/