22 March 2024

Health and Safety Tips for Security Guards

Working in the security sector presents some unique health and safety risk factors that aren’t present in many other sectors to the same degree. It’s vital that security guards take steps to protect themselves against common risks to ensure they can continue to carry out their duties effectively whilst also safeguarding their long-term health.

These issues should be brought to light during initial on-the-job security guard training, but it’s worth reviewing the most common reasons for workplace injury periodically. You should also consider reviewing this list if your normal place of work changes – for example, if you switch from day shifts in an office building to working night shifts on a construction site, the risk factors will be significantly different.

Here are just some of the ways you can safeguard your health and safety while working as a security guard. Remember, while it might be your employer’s responsibility to make sure you are safe in the workplace, there’s still plenty you can do to support yourself, and of course it’s in your best interests to do so.

Stay alert and vigilant

1. Stay alert and vigilant

Maintaining a high level of alertness is crucial for a security guard. Always stay focused on your surroundings and be aware of any potential threats or hazards. You also need to be aware of emergency protocols and ensure you are ready to act without having to confirm action with anyone else.

The majority of injuries in the workplace for security guards will occur during emergency situations, so being prepared and knowing how to take decisive action is critically important. In the event of an emergency situation such as a fire, medical incident or security breach, remain calm and follow established emergency procedures.

To further protect yourself and those around you, make sure you always adhere to established security protocols and procedures. This includes checking identification, enforcing access control measures and conducting thorough security checks.

2. Regularly review your training

Ensure that you receive comprehensive training on security procedures, protocols and the proper use of security equipment. You should also regularly participate in refresher courses to stay updated on best practice.

It’s a legal requirement that all security professionals in the UK have a minimum level of training and that this training is refreshed every three years. 

Wear protective clothing

3. Wear protective clothing

Depending on the nature of your work environment, wearing appropriate protective gear such as high-visibility vests, helmets, gloves and safety boots – these can all help prevent and/or minimise injuries. 

Those working in front line security such as door supervisors or close protection may consider wearing protective clothing such as a stab vest under their clothing for additional protection.

4. Be aware of your posture

Security guards often spend long hours standing or patrolling. Maintain good posture to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal problems. Be wary about the use of back braces on the job as these can often do more damage than good. They can also impede your movement in an emergency, and this could make it difficult for you to respond to situations. 

If your role requires you to lift heavy objects, make sure you use proper lifting techniques to avoid strains and back injuries. Bend your knees, keep your back straight and always remember to lift with your legs. It is also about engaging your core too – simple exercises every day can solve the problem of a weak core in a matter of weeks or months.

Be mindful of environmental hazards

5. Be mindful of environmental hazards

Be aware of potential environmental hazards such as slippery floors, uneven surfaces or poor lighting. Take appropriate precautions to mitigate risks and prevent accidents. 

Promptly report any safety hazards, incidents or suspicious activities to your supervisor or appropriate authorities. Document incidents accurately and thoroughly for future reference. Maintain open lines of communication with your colleagues, supervisors and emergency services if necessary.

6. Stay hydrated and nourished

Maintain good levels of hydration by drinking plenty of water throughout your shift, especially if working in hot or humid conditions. Eat nutritious meals and snacks to sustain your energy levels.

It’s essential to take regular breaks to rest and recharge, especially during long shifts. Use your breaks to stretch, hydrate, rest and refocus your mind.

Prioritise mental health and physical fitness

7. Prioritise mental health and physical fitness

Regular exercise and physical fitness are essential for maintaining stamina and resilience as a security guard. Incorporate strength training, cardiovascular exercise and flexibility exercises into your routine to stay fit for duty.

While physical activity will be great for your mental health, it often isn’t enough to rely on this alone. The nature of security work can be demanding and stressful. Prioritise your mental health by practising stress management techniques, seeking support from colleagues or professional counsellors if needed, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Closing thoughts

As you can see, there are many simple and practical ways in which security guards can protect themselves while on the job. While it can be a dangerous sector to work in, there are plenty of steps we can all take to protect ourselves and others, to prevent or minimise the likelihood of injury or harm whilst on the job.