Your staff are responsible for the safety of anyone else on the property such as children they may be looking after.

A local private security company has urged home owners to make sure anyone who works on their property know the basic principles of personal safety, so that they are familiar with how to act in an emergency.

Domestic workers, says Fidelity ADT’s KwaZulu-Natal district manager Ivan Govender, play an integral part in any home security system and it was critical that they are empowered and equipped to look after their own safety, as well as the safety of anyone else on the property such as children they may be looking after.

“Everyone wants and deserves to be safe, no matter who they are and where they work. In the same way that you should share safety tips with your friends and loved ones, you should also share it with anyone that works on your property,” says Govender.

He urges domestic workers to ask themselves: what would you do if someone tried to break into the house that you are working at? Do you know where the panic buttons are, and how to call for help? If not, discuss it with your employer as soon as possible.

When it comes to personal safety, Govender says a cellphone could be both a friend and a foe. “It can assist you by allowing you to take a photo of a suspicious person or vehicle you have noticed in your community. However, it could also distract you from what is happening around you if you pay too much attention to social media updates or text messages.”

Govender says home owners should consider enrolling any employees who may be working for them for an extended period of time, in local crime-prevention forums which take place in most neighbourhoods every month. These are often arranged by the SAPS or community members and teach valuable crime-prevention and safety tips.

Lastly, Govender believes there are five key things to remember:

  •   Be careful of having unguarded conversations about your employer or the property you are working at. You never know who might be listening.
  •   Be observant and speak up if you see something suspicious anywhere in the suburb.
  •  Use the camera on your cellphone. If you see something or someone that appears to be out of place, take a photo.
  •  Don't let you phone be a distraction. Pay attention to your surroundings.
  •   Never allow anyone onto the property or indoors unless they have an appointment or if they have a legitimate reason to be there, and your employer confirmed it for you. If you have any doubt about someone trying to gain entry, call your employer or call the police. Don’t fall for impersonators.