A group of Yorkshire entrepreneurs have launched a lone worker company after spotting a gap in the market.
First2HelpYou, which is based in Selby, has only been operating for a fortnight, but has already signed up several new clients.
The seven-strong team behind the company is made up of directors of Careline Security of Selby, and former employees of a South Yorkshire lone worker company which was bought out.
First2HelpYou managing director Neil Addinall said: “Between us we know the security and lone worker industry incredibly well and we know that there are a lot of people out there working alone with little or no protection. So setting up the company seemed an obvious next step.
“It may be a new company but the people behind it have literally decades of experience in the field, so we expect to grow quickly.”
It is estimated there are up to 8 million people who, for at least part of their week, work alone. That is 22 per cent of the working population and includes include social workers, district nurses, farm workers, security staff, lorry drivers, rent collectors and builders. By law employers have a duty of care to all staff.
Alicia Mather, sales and operations director at First2HelpYou, said it isn’t just legal obligations that should make employers take lone worker safety seriously.
“Not looking after lone workers properly can also mean lower morale amongst staff, decreased productivity and greater sickness absence, as well as greater risk to the staff and the company – and its reputation. So it makes sense legally, financially and morally to look after lone workers.”
First2HelpYou offers specialist monitoring equipment, and apps for iPhones and android phones, all backed up by a 24-hour monitoring centre. The company has already gained ISO9001 (2015).
Alicia said: “Because everyone involved in First2HelpYou has so much knowledge of the industry we can make sure the equipment and systems we are offering really are the best they can be.
“We don’t believe in one size fits all with lone worker solutions. We know that staff have different needs. For example someone who is customer-facing, such as a housing association worker, has very different needs to someone who is working alone in a warehouse.”
First2HelpYou has developed a small device, just 41mm across, that fits in the palm of a hand and features an SOS button, GPS detector, man-down sensor and two-way audio facility. The KIT device is so small it can be attached to a belt, keychain or hidden inside an ID badge, and it is compliant with the British Standard for lone worker provision (8484:2016).
The company has also developed an app for both Android phones and iPhones, which has virtually the same features as the KIT device, and they will offer face to face training in implementing and using equipment across all products.
“We need to make sure that everyone knows how the equipment works and buys in to the idea. After all clever technology won’t work if it is left in the glove compartment or in its box in the office. This is about making sure people really are safe and it’s not all just some box ticking exercise,” said Alicia.
The other five members of the team are: finance director Angela Addinall, technical director Simon Mackenzie, director Matthew Watson, and former Peoplesafe employees, David Atkins, who is head of products and implementation, and performance, compliance and data protection consultant Nick Hunter.
Photograph left to right: Alicia Mather, Matthew Watson, Simon Mackenzie, David Atkins, Neil Addinall, Nick Hunter and Angela Addinall.