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Bewley Homes continues to keep lone working high on the agenda for its staff health and safety 35 years since the disappearance of Suzy Lamplugh

8 Dec 2021

Bewley Homes continue to keep lone working high on its health and safety agenda. Thirty-five years on from the disappearance of estate agent Suzy Lamplugh there is always a reminder of its importance.

The award-winning housebuilder follows a stringent lone worker policy for its sales team and provides on-going training from induction and includes the provision of personal lone worker alarms.  

Bewley’s Sales and Marketing Director, Elaine Stratford, commented: “As a Sales Director I believe it is imperative that we provide our team with the equipment and training to keep them as safe as is possible.  

“To ensure that this is on-going, and is consistently embedded, following their attendance of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust two-day training course, we have invited Lynne McGhee and Brett Reeves, from our sales team, to provide further support to colleagues. This is not enough just to provide equipment. A clear understanding as to why there may be a risk and how to assess it quickly is crucial and that requires on-going support and training.”

Lynne’s lone working training role has brought back memories of when she worked in the same office as Suzy Lamplugh in London, back in the 1980s, which was sadly shortly before the estate agent disappeared. She’s never forgotten meeting Suzy in person, and the shock of hearing the news of her going missing.

The Suzy Lamplugh Trust is the UK’s pioneering personal safety charity which was set up following the disappearance of 25-year-old Suzy who went to meet a client, on her own, and never returned. She was never found and eventually declared dead in 1993.

The Trust offers expert training in lone working and personal safety to empower people to take steps to avoid, mitigate or manage risks across all aspects of their lives.

Lynne said: “Elaine is very conscious and caring about our safety. She wanted to make sure we all had the alarms and had processes in place to keep everyone safe and formalise the training as part of health and safety which is overseen by our Health and Safety Officer, Matt Jenkins.

“I don’t think the risk will ever go away and we in our roles we need to live with it. Bewley is happy for us to wear the lone worker alarms outside of work and I often wear it if I walk my dog at night. They want everyone to be safe all of the time, not just during working hours.”

Bewley provides a range of equipment and safety solutions for its team including CCTV cameras, fixed panic alarms, personal alarms and emergency code contacts to site and management.  The training is aimed at making sure the equipment is used correctly and that there is a clear understanding as to why this is so important to the company and to each person in their daily life.   

Lynne highlighted: “One of the things we’re trying to stress in our sessions is that it’s not about creating fear, it’s about creating awareness. It’s like any other health and safety issue – working environments can change and each development is different.  The policy for each site is regularly checked and updated if needed.”

The training duo of Brett and Lynne use exercises from the Suzy Lamplugh training course to get people talking about personal safety especially while working alone. Brett commented: “We encourage staff to think about what they would consider inappropriate behaviour and if something doesn’t feel right to inform colleagues.  Anything that encourages awareness of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust is important.”  Lynne added: “I feel like I’m doing my little bit for Suzy’s memory.”

Saskia Garner, head of policy and campaigns at the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, said:  “We’re delighted that Bewley Homes has put its staff at the forefront by trying to keep them as safe as possible – especially when they’re working alone. It’s been 35 years since Suzy’s disappearance and over this time we’ve worked with thousands of people to empower them to take steps to keep themselves as safe as possible.

“But it’s still important for companies to think about how to keep employees as safe as possible and for individuals to be aware of potential risks to their personal safety. We’ll continue to do what we can to prevent what happened to Suzy happening to anyone else.”