15% of Estate Agency Staff Feel Unsafe at Work

A new study from RS Components has analysed a range of key UK industries on a number of different metrics to reveal which industries are the safest and most dangerous to work in. The study’s findings on the safety of estate agency staff are particularly interesting.

The metrics studied include occurrences of work-related ill health and workplace injury across a range of industries as well as the average amount of sick leave taken by employees in each industry. The study also surveyed workers in each industry to find out how safe people feel at work and how adequate they feel their health and safety training is.

Perhaps the biggest risk for estate agency workers is lone working when on visit, something most agents do most days.

Many within the profession recall only too well the last Monday of July 1986, when in broad daylight and in the middle of a working day, 25 year old Fulham estate agent Suzy Lamplugh, a 25-year-old, disappeared while showing a ‘Mr. Kipper’ round a house in Fulham.  It’s a case that has haunted the profession ever since.

Perception vs Reality

Estate agency workers have the highest perception of danger in their job, with 15% of workers saying they feel unsafe at work and a further 10% saying they felt neither safe nor unsafe. However, the track record for agencies is good overall, the industry has no reported workplace injuries in the last 12 months and a good level of health and safety training, with 85% of estate agency staff saying they receive adequate health and safety training at work.

This stands in stark comparison to the industry the study found to be the most dangerous – agriculture, forestry and fishing – in which the work-related injury rate is 3690 per 100,000 workers and the work-related ill health rate is 4740 per 100,000 workers. Despite the high levels of injury and ill health, none of the people working in this industry said they felt unsafe at work.

With this in mind, the high level of health and safety training and the absence of reported workplace injuries among estate agents suggests that the perception of risk to safety in the industry refers to personal safety rather than personal injury, and it’s likely that estate agents are concerned about being in the vulnerable position of working and travelling alone and meeting with strangers rather than about the risk of having an accident while at work.

Improving Security and Personal Safety

Many estate agencies have already taken precautions to improve personal safety, including software and apps and some estate agency software now has lone worker support built in.

Sadly, Suzy has never been found and her devastated parents set up the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, which alongside generally working to reduce violence, offers advice and support for lone workers, including estate agents.  Their work in this sector has been truly outstanding.

However, following the findings it would seem that the profession still has some way to go to reassure and protect staff and to help estate agents feel less vulnerable at work.