There has been a sharp rise in the number of firms in the transport and logistics sector using state of the art satellite technology to personally protect their employees, according to new industry figures.

Send For Help – the largest lone worker protection firm in the world which makes key-fob sized GPS safety devices and apps for individuals – has released data revealing that the number of devices being used by UK firms in the transport and logistics sector rose by 61% in the six months between July- December, 2017.

“A new trend is emerging as companies in the logistics sector take responsibility for their Duty of Care to staff, and are increasingly looking for solutions to personally protect drivers against attack or injury, not just the vehicle and its cargo”, said James Murray, CEO of Send for Help.

“Because our devices are in a portable in key-fob format, the driver can always carry it with them and is protected through a variety of functions, including an audio channel that allows us to communicate with the driver as well as locate them. Furthermore, if the keys are stolen then the vehicle can be tracked using our device – even across international borders,” he added.

“Companies recognise the advantages of personnel protection when they look at the implications of legal costs and compensation as well as bad publicity if someone gets injured or assaulted,” he said Send For Help was founded in 2010 by brothers James and Will Murray. It operates three subsidiary brands – Skyguard, Guardian24 and Peoplesafe.

The subsidiaries protect more than 150,000 people through key-fob sized GPS safety devices and apps, which are linked to an alarmreceiving centre staffed at the company’s headquarters in Epsom, Surrey.

Send For Help has direct links to police control rooms, so it can bypass the 999 system and receive a faster emergency response if clients are threatened, attacked or are in danger.

Once the “SOS alarm’ button on the device is pressed, a user can speak via a two-way audio in the device to a controller at Send For Help’s fortified alarm receiving centre, who will decide the appropriate action – whether that’s calling an ambulance, alerting the police, asking the worker’s supervisor to check in on them, or simply to confirm it’s a false alarm. End users or their managers can specify how they want their alarms managed, and provide relevant personal information via a 24/7 online portal.

The device sends its GPS location to the monitoring centre which utilises mapping software, the operators can direct help to where it’s needed – even if they are on the move. Staff are trained and have to sit exams before they can answer calls. Clients typically pay a £10 monthly fee for each device.

The lone worker protection market in Europe and America is forecast to double from £105 million per annum to £226 million by 2021, according to recent research by analysts Berg Insight.