More and more states, provinces, and municipalities in the United States and Canada are considering or implementing panic button legislation that would mandate the installation of a duress system to protect workers.
While it is not legally mandated everywhere, more and more localities, including city government, county government, and state or province governments, are turning to panic button and duress system technology as a way to keep their employees safe. It is not rolled out everywhere as a requirement, but the companies who implement a panic button solution proactively stand to be ahead of the curve. Here are a few examples of recent discussions and laws that have been considered or implemented. If these laws haven’t yet reached your locality, be sure that they will soon be on their way.
Examples of Recent Duress System and Panic Button Laws
- Hotel Workers: The city of Chicago is proposing a law that would require Chicago hotels to implement panic button technology.
- Hotel Workers: Voters in the city of Seattle recently approved Initiative 124, which gives hotel employees (e.g. housekeepers) many protections, including mobile panic buttons, against sexual harassment at work.
- Teachers: Arkansas implemented panic button technology in schools statewide in 2015 under House Bill 1653.
- Mental Health Workers: Stephanie’s Law in Massachusetts requires residential mental health treatment facilities to implement panic button systems and make them available to employees.
- Taxis: In 2015, a proposal in New York considered implementing panic buttons in taxis.
- TSA Workers: In 2014, the Transportation Security Administration increased their security, including taking the measure of acquiring additional duress alarms.
These are just a few examples of the laws that have been proposed or enacted on behalf of workers. Regulations are also coming to protect workers in health care, retail, correctional facilities, lone factory workers, and other industries. Implementing a robust duress alarm system and strong security policy will put your business ahead of the curve.
What is Duress System Technology?
A duress system or panic button solution is technology that allows employees to carry a wearable pendant with a panic button. Any time that their immediate safety is threatened, they can push their panic button, sending an automatic alert to the security team with their exact location, and possibly activating other building security measures, such as sirens, strobe lights, or a lockdown.
Who Needs To Implement a Panic Button Solution?
At any place of business, an emergency could happen, but in many of those cases, people could simply call 911. Panic buttons are for the emergencies where it would be unlikely that one of your employees could pick up the phone and place a phone call. Instead, they need to simply be able to press a button on the mobile pendant that they carry and instantly summon help to their exact location by your security team. Examples:
- Nurses and other health care workers
- Housekeepers and other hotel staff
- Workers at correctional facilities, such as jails, detention centers, and prisons
- Teachers and professors at schools, colleges, and universities
Check out the full list of industries that are the most likely to benefit from panic button technology.