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How Is The Security Industry Protecting Its Workforce?

How Is The Security Industry Protecting Its Workforce?
18 May 2020 | Updated 21 May 2020

As safety and hygiene measures are ramped up on trains and at stations this week, security guards with crowd management training are being deployed.

Trains have been operating on a reduced service throughout the pandemic, however, Transport for London (TfL) is aiming to operate 75 per cent of normal Tube services and 85 per cent of normal bus services.

TfL is deploying additional security staff, including Compliance Policing and On-Street Officers, across the network and at bus stations to help with social distancing. Hundreds of officers from the British Transport Police are also out across the transport network.

As lockdown measures continue to ease and offices start to welcome more staff back, it seems that the need for increased security to enforce social distancing will continue to be an essential part of everyday life.

In light of the recent ONS statistics on high death rates amongst male security guards, let’s look at industry reaction and the plans to protect this group.


“The government is clear that the responsibility for undertaking a proper risk assessment, and implementing the necessary measures, rests with the employer. We agree with this approach, because only the employer can understand the specific details on the ground.”

–Ian Todd

CEO, Security Industry Authority


Male security guards have one of highest COVID-19 death rates


In a recent report from the Office for National Statistics, it was revealed that men working as security guards had one of the highest COVID-19 death rates, with 45.7 deaths per 100,000 (63 deaths).

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has published guidance on how those working in security and law enforcement should protect themselves, including what to do if close contact occurs during apprehension.

However, the Security Industry Authority (SIA), the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry, maintains that it is the job of the employer to meeting the correct legal obligations to ensure the safety of their staff.

In an address to its licenced members, CEO Ian Todd stressed the importance of employer risk assessments and referred to previously published government guidelines:

“The government is clear that the responsibility for undertaking a proper risk assessment, and implementing the necessary measures, rests with the employer. We agree with this approach, because only the employer can understand the specific details on the ground. The Government has published a number of guides for those working in a variety of environments. They can be found here.

“The guidance also refers to PPE (personal protection equipment) requirements. The current advice suggests that the added value from some measures is very limited outside of a clinical/medical setting. The guidance continues to highlight the overwhelming benefits of good hand hygiene, and the limited role of face coverings. We are not in a position to offer anything further to this advice, which is based on the latest available science.”

You can read the full address from the SIA here.


Action from security providers


“Overall we’re listening to what our security officers need – they’re on the front line of this outbreak.  But even one security officer death as a result of this pandemic is a tragedy. We must work together and do all we can as an industry to ensure no more of our people die as a result of this terrible virus.”

–Mike Bullock

CEO, Corps Security


We spoke to Corps Security, a specialist security services provider, to get a sense of how the industry has reacted to the news.

Some weeks ago, the government classified licence-holding security professionals as critical workers which meant that many security guards have been on the front line throughout this pandemic and will continue to do so. 

When the rest of the building occupants have been working from home, security officers have been protecting empty buildings or supporting the skeleton staff remaining.


Mike Bullock


Picture: CEO of Corps Security, Mike Bullock

Mike Bullock, CEO of Corps Security confirmed that, whilst they haven’t lost any colleagues to COVID-19, they are not complacent and are constantly looking for new ways to look after their people. 

Here are some of the steps Corps Security have taken to protect their team:

  • Furloughed all 64 front-line officers who were classified as extremely vulnerable to the virus and needed shielding
  • Changed the shift patterns and working arrangements of another 94 staff members
  • Made sure people self-isolated where they or their families had symptoms
  • Supplied PPE to sites where required, including masks, gloves, goggles, anti-bac gel and anti-bac wipes for equipment use – another 10,000 pairs of gloves and 9,000 masks will arrive across offices this week to support the new guidance about wearing masks on public transport
  • COVID-19 site audits for all client sites
  • Introduced a short form risk assessment to support the COVID-19 site audits
  • Launched a mandatory COVID-19 online training module for security officers
  • Held regular one-to-one check-ins between line managers and security officers who are furloughed to make sure they’re feeling well, both mentally and physically

Picture: A photograph of an entrance to a train station. Image credit: Transport for London

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 18 May 2020


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