Undoubtedly security contractors provide a safety net on several facets for business owners and their patrons. However, what can a security officer do in a time when a direct physical threat is not readily apparent? In our opinion, security is a form of service to the public. A security officer is expected to follow protocols and procedures just like any public servant. In the case that those protocols are not properly followed, the outcome could be potentially disastrous.
This is where a client should not only review the readiness of a contract security officer but also the company behind that team member who has been entrusted with the overall safety of their community.
A question that we do not get asked as often as I would like while interviewing with a potential client is; how often does the security officer receive individual protective training from the company?
Security officer training programs will diverge in scope from one organization to the next. Often the dividing factor depends if the company you are looking at has a specific industry in which they focus their marketing efforts. Most training programs from one company to the next will have overlapping topics and may focus on subjects related to surveillance and crowd management rather than personal safety. Albeit very important topics, we rarely encounter a security officer who has worked with a different company that has received training in the proper utilization of Personal Protective Equipment. Training on this topic should be conducted annually at a bare minimum.
An organization that manages affairs in the public eye must know how to protect the health and welfare of its staff members. A couple of examples we continually talk about at Talos Secure Group are:
- The proper use of disposable gloves. This subject is a large part of taking care of team members who may encounter people or objects that could cause personal harm. Without a baseline understanding of the importance of this tool, security officers have a huge potential to create risk rather than being an effective participant in an organization’s risk mitigation plan.
- Another great example is the proper use of protective face masks. When should they be deployed? How does a company use them without causing alarm within the community they are contracted to work for? And how to properly dispose of these items? All questions that should be answered before a security officer comes to work.
- Another seemingly arbitrary but non the less important bit of information a security officer should be familiar with is where are the hand sanitizer locations? Are they easily accessible and refilled once the reservoir is depleted?
- How does a company manage people who appear to be ill? Are they asked to leave? Are they separated from larger groups of people? Or are they just left alone to conduct business as if they were 100% healthy?
These are all seemingly forgotten about topics that are not regularly discussed within security firms. Especially security firms that do not regularly work in a hospital environment. Furthermore, these topics are rarely added to the daily tasking list for a security officer or the facility’s post orders. Solving these issues are all relatively straightforward but require an open line of communication between facility managers and the security management team.
Maintaining workforce health and safety is paramount in mitigating risk. If a security officer cannot properly conduct their duties due to lack of training, they are no longer the asset to the client or their peers. They instantly become a liability not only to the client but also to themselves and the company in which they work directly for.