If you have a team of security guards on hand to protect your home or business, you have a duty of care to protect your employees from a variety of hazards, including violence.
Security guards in public-facing roles are particularly vulnerable to physical attacks, and so it is vital to consider giving them protective body armour, such as stab-proof vests, to keep them safe from harm. But what is body armour, and why do your security personnel need it? Let’s take a look.
What is body armour?
Body armour is a form of protective clothing worn to absorb or deflect the impact of a physical attack.
Body armour comes in a variety of materials and strengths to suit the role of the wearer and can be strong enough to protect them against a wide range of weapons, including sharp objects (such as knives), blunt instruments and bullets.
What kind of body armour do I need?
The Home Office’s Centre for Applied Science and Technology has developed national standards for body armour. These standards were initially created as guidance for UK police forces, but they are also appropriate for other public roles and private companies.
The Home Office has created a list of certified products that meet their standards for three different types of threats, including:
– Stabs using sharp objects that could cause deep internal injuries in vital organs
– Slashes using knives that create shallow, long injuries that could damage major blood vessels
– Ballistic attacks using a shotgun, rifle or pistol, which cause complex injuries
As a business owner or manager, you are responsible for liaising with your local police force to decide which level of protection is appropriate for your staff.
What is body armour made of?
Body armour is usually made of blast and ballistic-resistant fabrics covered by an outer fabric casing. The higher the level of protection the body armour provides, the heavier and stiffer it will become, which can decrease the mobility of the wearer. Additional armour plates can also be added to increase the level of protection provided.
How to choose the right body armour
In addition to the level of protection required for your staff, there are several other factors you’ll need to consider when choosing the right body armour for your security personnel, including:
Issuing body armour that is the right size for your staff is essential, as it will determine how much protection it offers and how comfortable it is to wear. If the armour you choose is too short, it may not protect the wearer’s vital organs, but if it is too long, it may make it uncomfortable to wear and difficult to move in.
While the weight of the armour itself is important to consider, the way its weight is distributed is also essential to think about. Ensuring the weight of the armour is evenly distributed on the wearer’s waist and shoulders, for example, will make it less of a burden to wear for long periods.
The bulk of the body armour can be more prohibitive than its weight, so it’s essential to make sure the armour you choose is streamlined. Bulky body armour can be a hindrance to normal movement and can restrict easy access to vehicles and buildings.
Finding the right body armour for your security personnel is essential to keep them protected at work, so make sure that you shop from a reputable provider.