Ap­peal for night-time safety mea­sures for home care staff

Evening Times - - NEWS - BY STEPHEN NAYSMITH

WORK­ERS who go out at night in all weath­ers to pro­vide home care to el­derly and dis­abled peo­ple are call­ing for Glas­gow City Coun­cil to do more to en­sure their safety.

Staff of the city’s Home Care Ser­vice say they have been fol­lowed, threat­ened and in­tim­i­dated while trav­el­ling to pro­vide help to vul­ner­a­ble clients.

Most work alone, some­times in ar­eas of the city they are not fa­mil­iar with, and of­ten travel from ap­point­ment to ap­point­ment on foot.

One woman was trapped in her car by a group of youths who were try­ing to open the doors while an­other was re­cently tar­geted with a fire­work, campaigner­s claim.

An­other worker had a bot­tle thrown at them and one feels so un­safe her part­ner fol­lows her route in the car, sit­ting out­side to see she re­turns safely from calls.

Launch­ing the Safe at Night cam­paign GMB Scot­land mem­bers asked coun­cil­lors to pledge their sup­port as they demon­strated out­side the City Cham­bers, call­ing on the coun­cil to sup­port pro­pos­als geared to­wards im­prov­ing safety at work.

Shona Thom­son, GMB Scot­land Branch Sec­re­tary, said the cam­paign was a direct re­sponse to in­creas­ing con­cerns among home care staff about their per­sonal safety while work­ing and re­turn­ing home from late night shifts.

She said: “Many home car­ers work on foot and alone un­til 10PM each evening. They visit their ser­vice users and tend to their needs and well-be­ing be­fore mak­ing their own way home, all year round and in all con­di­tions.

“Un­for­tu­nately, too many home care staff will have a story to tell about be­ing in­tim­i­dated, threat­ened and even as­saulted at night while walk­ing be­tween jobs or wait­ing for trans­port to take them home at the end of a shift.”

Caro­line Thorpe, 59, was left sprawled and alone in a back lane in the city hav­ing stum­bled into a pot­hole in the dark, and was sub­se­quently off work with lig­a­ment dam­age for a lengthy pe­riod of re­cu­per­a­tion.

She says she has also fre­quently felt un­safe work­ing at night in un­fa­mil­iar parts of town. “The prob­lem is usu­ally not so much the client, but the ar­eas you may be in.

“You have to go down the lanes be­cause the runs that we are given are timed and you couldn’t do it if you walked the long way.

“It af­fects you men­tally.

Many of my col­leagues dread Oc­to­ber and the dark nights,” she said.

The GMB is call­ing for a se­ries of mea­sures it says would im­prove safety, in­clud­ing on foot car­ers work­ing in pairs out of hours; the pro­vi­sion of a pool car to re­turn car­ers to a direct trans­port route home at the end of each shift; and im­proved night­time sup­port from co­or­di­na­tors.

Shona Thom­son said: “It’s a mod­est ask of the coun­cil to make sure that home car­ers feel safer at night while look­ing after some of Glas­gow’s most vul­ner­a­ble ci­ti­zens. Dis­trict nurses don’t go out at that time on their own, nor would you get po­lice­men work­ing at that time of night alone,” she said.

Home care work­ers en­ter­ing dark closes with­out se­cu­rity doors, or van­dalised lifts have to bal­ance their own

let­[email protected] evening­times. co.uk or

on Face­book or Twit­ter safety with the fear that a client may be at risk if they do not man­age to make the ap­point­ment, she said.

“Staff feel in­creas­ingly vul­ner­a­ble on the job. This is un­ac­cept­able and needs to be ur­gently tack­led by their em­ployer.”

“We can do bet­ter than this. That’s why we are call­ing on coun­cil­lors and ser­vice di­rec­tors to work with us by in­tro­duc­ing our three sim­ple im­prove­ments to the ex­ist­ing and out-dated work­ing ar­range­ments.”

A Glas­gow City Coun­cil spokes­woman said: “We take the safety of our staff very se­ri­ously.

“More than 72% of our home­care staff live in the streets and the com­mu­ni­ties that they work and we have a range of poli­cies and train­ing in place to en­sure that lone work­ers feel safe in their work­ing en­vi­ron­ment.”

GMB campaigner­s urged coun­cil­lors to sign up to their ‘Safe at Night’ cam­paign

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.