Quell Training

Lone Worker Training: Code Words


If you hear someone say code words, we usually find people usually have two expressions and answers when it comes to lone working and the subject of code words.

One:  “We never use them as it makes me feel stupid.”

Two:  “Do they really work or are they really hard to remember.”

We at Quell like the idea of teaching the use of code words as they are both effective when used correctly and also extremely cheap, in fact if I am correct they are actually free!

The problem we have encountered over the years when we have been delivering Lone Worker training, is that some of the code words used were pretty difficult to remember and this was because they used sentences or different and often confusing terminology to alert staff when working in pairs or on the phone, thus resulting in the recipient of the code asking to confirm the code that was supposed to have been relayed in a quick but unnoticeable manner. This in turn not only makes the person nervous, but if the potential aggressor understood or realised that a code word was used then escalated into a higher level of frustration therefore making it even harder for the Lone Worker to leave the situation.

It does again remind me sometimes of the old “Danny Boy this is Broadsword Over” however that was Holywood and they could do retakes!!

Code words are a tool which everyone who is a Lone Worker should consider using. This means firstly checking with their line manager is there a system in place to use a code word, then sitting with the other members of staff (it takes 10 minutes) and coming up with good ideas of code words which can be used and only they as a team or department will know.

Recently I worked with a Civil Service department who designed an effective system that has been working since we implemented it over 3 years ago, and they have 3 clear lines to follow (example):

Code…??   –        Receiving abuse

Code…??   –        Receiving a threat /believe they are about to be assaulted

Code…??   –        Police / PSNI / Garda Síochána

Without giving the facts and details of the different codes, all I will say is that after speaking to the team the code words have helped them while Lone Working as other members of staff know if there is or has been a problem.

For more information on Lone Worker Training please contact us at Quell.

Blog by Will Holland


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