This video is a part of a series developed for National Safe Work Month 2017, focusing on our seven priority industries as identified in the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022.

Working in public administration and safety can bring on potential threats such as verbal or physical abuse, and fatigue. Security guard Gail shares her experiences in working in this industry and the things she does to keep herself and her colleagues safe at work.

About the presenter

Gail McKillop is a security guard for SNP Security in Canberra, ACT.


National Safe Work Month – Public administration and safety industry video

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Gail McKinnon, Security Guard:

Security guards can be put in difficult situations, where there's an increased chance of actual verbal and physical abuse. We certainly use our security training to de-escalate situations and where possible bring in law enforcement to ensure that everyone's safety is top-of-mind.

Definitely when you arrive at a site, look at the surroundings, if anything's changed. Reading work safety statements is very important, knowing what the event you're working for, what the principal is wanting, is very important. And looking to see if anything has changed, being aware of what's going on around in the world as well. Potential threats that can come are getting more relevant these days. And then also at team meetings, taking notes, asking questions and if you're unsure of anything, make sure you ask.

There's varied difference in whether it be a building site, or a pack-up or pack-down, or whether it's open to the public. So, when it's obviously a building site, we need the fluro vests on, we need people to be visible for their own safety, of trucks and machinery working around and making sure you know who's on-site. So, it's important to sign in, know who's on-site, and then sign out. When you start a job as a security officer, I think you need to make sure that you're up to date with what your organisation wants you to be doing, with all of their policies and procedures.

You also can do long shifts, they can be 12-hour shifts. It is important to take breaks. Sometimes, it's very hard to take those breaks. Those breaks may be whilst you are still on work, you may not be able to leave the site. So, in the security industry, we are renowned to working long hours. It's about communication. A lot of security is really about communication and safety. Being aware of your surroundings, as I keep saying, but also talking to people, communicating with them and letting them know what's appropriate and what's not appropriate.

October is National Safe Work Month. Visit the website and see how you can get involved. Safety is everyone's business and your knowledge and experiences are worth sharing.


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