Social work can be an incredibly rewarding profession—and it’s crucial to encouraging social justice and social change among people and community. Social workers, however, in addition to promoting positive change, take on a significant degree of risk in their jobs. They risk their own safety while working to protect others.
In this month’s edition of Social Work Today, Christina Reardon discusses the great risk for workplace-related violence that social workers face. She shares a report from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that states: “Nearly three quarters of the workplace assaults that occurred each year between 2011 and 2013 took place in a health care or social services setting.” Social workers sometimes go into the same communities and environments as law enforcement, but they’re going in completely unprotected and, oftentimes, untrained to handle violent situations.
Social Work Today Advocates for a Safer Workplace
Reardon speaks to the importance of social worker safety and how organizations and social workers can be more proactive in making safety a priority. In 2004, NASW and the Center for Health Workforce Studies at the University of Albany learns more about the social worker’s experience in the workplace. Of the 10,000 licensed social workers that participated in their study, they find that “44%…faced personal safety issues in their primary employment practice, and 30% of these social workers did not think their employers adequately addressed the safety issues.”
It starts with safety in the workplace—where employers work to implement violence prevention and crisis response plans, where employers provide the necessary tools to give their social workers peace of mind to execute their job. Employers need to take action to protect their people and create the safest work environment possible, in turn, providing a better service to their clientele.
How SafeSignal Helps
Social Work Today shares how SafeSignal contributes directly to the protection and well-being of social workers and lone workers. In an interview, AlertMedia CEO, Brian Cruver, says “[SafeSignal] gives workers a feeling of safety and control over the situation…they feel safer, they feel that we’re with them, that they’re no longer alone.” SafeSignal’s lone worker safety solution accompanies social workers 24/7/365 in dangerous situations. SafesSignal is a lone worker app specifically designed for those working in potentially unsafe environments. Workers can activate a SafeSignal session via a mobile app and if a situation strikes, all they have to do is remove a tether from their audio jack—police are on the way.
Let’s continue to promote social worker safety so they can keep doing their jobs with confidence, and so they can keep working toward making our world a better, safer place.