Contract Security #2 by Mark Robinson

CFollowing on from my last article in issue #1, I know a few managers and senior managers may that have raised an eye brow thinking, this doesn’t happen at our company, however sadly many suffer from ‘ostrich syndrome’, believing it can’t happen here.

I know of a site where none of the Security Officers had been fully trained on manual handling, but were constantly receiving requested to attend the owner of the buildings office or apartment, to carry out various tasks, mostly to carry his luggage when he was going away. The most common task was to go to the local supermarket to buy a trolley full of bottled water, that was to be taken either to his office, or to his apartment. The challenge there was, if the lift was out of order, which it was frequently, the Security Officers had to carry the water up to the 5th floor to his apartment. This left the entire site vulnerable.

Security Management were totally aware of this, however, nothing was ever said in fear of losing the contract.

Yes, this was a site that I worked on, but my hands were tied, occasionally I would say that the Security Officers were tied up dealing with something, but the owner was very persistent and often stated, “do you know who I am?” Laughable really, when someone has to keep reminding contractors who he is.

During my many years within the industry I have worked with many health and safety advisers, health and safety managers and local council Health and Safety executives. All believed that Risk Assessment’s should be easy to follow, ie, the Risk is either, High, Medium or Low.

Nowadays however, Risk Assessments seem to have all types of fancy equations with lots of coloured boxes and columns, WHY?? Is this simply a result of expensive external consultants trying to justify their fees? Its ridiculous. I’ll say it again, High, Medium or Low, full stop. For instance, an external patrol in Piccadilly: From experience, you are dealing with Drunks, Drug Addicts, Vagrants, singular or in groups, and members of the public who wish to enter the building when its closed.

The Risk is High, however, when going through the reported incidents, the Risk became low, no attacks or acts of violence recorded, but it was a probability, so therefore, to be reviewed every 3 months. Risks were especially high with regards to Lone Workers on a Night Shift. Only one Security Officer would conduct a patrol. The risk to the safety of that officer is clearly High. You really don’t need to know or understand that D+B=C-A1 in a green column is bad… Or something?

But are patrols being conducted properly, especially by the Lone Worker in a high risk area? Would he / she challenge anyone on their own, move-on a sleeping vagrant in a fire exit etc etc. Should they really be conducting patrols on their own in the first place? Other than completing a risk assessment, what should Senior Management be doing to safeguard their employee’s?

Employees will shy away from the risk assessments if they look too complicated and will therefore interpret their own meaning. I’ve seen it on far too many sites. At the Hotel groups that I worked for, we made the Risk Assessments easy to follow, held monthly meetings and always tried to end the meetings with a humorous Health and Safety story… These days the leaving of a chocolate on a pillow in a guest room was to be banned, as it was encouraging obesity. However nothing was done to stop the Hotel selling all possible types of sweets in the mini bars?

Mark Robinson


Mark Robinson

Over the last 30 years, Mark Robinson has been the Head of Security

at some of London’s top Five Star Hotels.

With a history of looking after Major International Stars of Screen, Sport and the Music Industry,

he is a respected Subject Matter Expert on Ultra High Profile threat mitigation,

media handling and ‘total security’ event planning.

(TPSO has had a series of meetings recently that fully support and highlight Mark’s experiences! The current regulatory system seems to allow organisations to hide behind “box ticking”, consultant lead, risk assessments, when a genuine “Common Sense” view is far far different! Thanks again Mark……….. Ed!)