Retail Staff Safety During the Pandemic

Keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe during the current Pandemic has always been a priority, but regrettably the same consideration has not been felt by our key retail workers. VoCoVo, telecommunications provider for numerous retailers poignantly describes them as the ‘forgotten frontline’ in their recent report.

Abuse faced by retail workers is not new; a survey conducted by Censuswide revealed that almost 9 in 10 (89%) of retail workers regularly feel concerned for the safety of themselves and their colleagues at work. It further mentions how safety concerns are increasingly prominent during the Covid-19 outbreak, with nearly half of UK retail workers (48%) admitting to experiencing verbal abuse since the crisis began and roughly a third (32%) experiencing physical abuse.

Furthermore, apprehensions about returning to work are still apparent as some shoppers are still not willing to comply with social distancing rules or initiate good hygiene practice. The latter is evident as “mask rage” as dubbed by The Telegraph stemmed from the Government making masks mandatory to wear in shops on the 24th of July. The new rules led to an increase in anti-social behaviour and verbal abuse – Co-op stated it had recorded 990 incidents between the 20th and the 26th of July, just two days after the announcement.

“I feel like we’ve been given a huge responsibility and I know that some of my colleagues have had to deal with abuse. It seems like we’ve taken on the additional roles of security guards. As a PTSD sufferer, I find going into work a little stressful, especially as I’ve been taken off the department I usually work on and have had to learn other roles/skills in the shop very quickly.”

Anonymous – Extract from USDAW Survey

To help mitigate the risks that retail staff may face in their working environment (now and post Covid-19) Safetell, a market leading Physical Security product and service provider, have developed a range of staff protection solutions consisting of various screens and counters.

Such examples include:

glass swing gate with stainless steel post

Glass Swing Gate GR1

Staff Controlled Public Access

Steel drawer with front end hatch and integrated speaker and microphone system.


U shaped steel box with front end hatch.

NightPay Hatch

Desk Guard

Hygiene Shield

Three, double glazed panels fitted and secured within a counter top.

Frameless Fixed Glazing

Framed Fixed Glazing

The above implementations will enable retailers to reap the benefits by delivering a frictionless shopping experience for customers for years to come.

Safetell is committed to supporting our key retail workers by recognising the contribution of all those working on the front line. By introducing the necessary measures to protect the staff in our shops and restaurants from violence or abuse, employers can ensure they’re providing retail workers with the tools and support they need to feel empowered, connected, productive and valued.