Keeping your home and the people in it safe

Charnel Hattingh, head of marketing and communications for Fidelity ADT, is encouraging home owners to rethink their home security in relation to domestic workers following a recent decision by the Constitutional Court.

As previously reported by The Sowetan, the court found that domestic workers – including gardeners, nannies, caregivers, chauffeurs and maids employed in private homes – could claim compensation if injured on their employers’ property.

Claims were backdated to 1994.

Hattingh said this meant that home owners needed to be especially careful in preventing their domestic workers from falling victim to crime.

“Domestic staff are often the only people on a property during the day, sometimes even over extended holiday periods. They shoulder a lot of responsibility to protect the property and potentially children or the elderly who may be in their care,” she said.

“What home owners need to realise is that any employee who comes to your home for a period during the day could fall victim to crime.

“If workers are spending time on your property, they should be part of your security protocols.”

Hattingh provided ten tips on keeping people safe.

Never open the gate to strangers, no matter what their story is

Activate garden beams during the day

Install proper perimeter protection, such as palisade fencing or walling. Electric fencing is a valuable addition

Ensure that domestic staff carry remote panic buttons on them at all times and know where the mounted panic buttons are in the house

Keep security gates locked and the keys removed

Don’t make it obvious when you are away on holiday

Discourage domestic staff and anyone else regularly around your family from talking about your routines and plans to other people

Hattingh recommended that everyone on the property memorise emergency contacts.

“Help keep your domestic staff and other people in your family’s life safe by regularly talking about security and security protocols,” she said.

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