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Post murder,BPO firms adopted multi-level approach to safety

The Pune police released a list of dos and don'ts,which included not allowing unknown persons to travel with female employees in company cabs

Written by AADITI JATHAR LAKADE | Published: September 18, 2012 1:06:57 am

The Pune police released a list of dos and don’ts,which included not allowing unknown persons to travel with female employees in company cabs

After Wipro BPO (then called Spectramind) employee Jyotikumari Choudhary’s gang-rape and murder in November 2007,the company came up with multi-level safety measures to ensure that such incidences are avoided in the future.

“We have introduced a 24X7 toll-free support number on which employees can report about an emergency. To ensure safety,women employees travelling during night have guards accompanying them,” said spokesperson of Wipro Technologies from Bangalore. “The company has also introduced a vehicle-tracking system (VTS) that enables company’s security officials to monitor and track the location of the cabs ferrying employees. The system facilitated minute-to-minute tracking from a central command centre,” the spokesperson said,adding that these measures are being implemented at all Wipro centres in the country.

Immediately after Jyotikumari’s murder,BPO industry in various cities had also come up with various measures to ensure safety of women employees,particularly those working in night shifts. Female employees are not picked up first and dropped last,a system which is strictly being followed,he said.

The Pune police women’s cell had released a list of dos and don’ts for female employees and their employers. These included not permitting unknown persons to travel with them in company cabs,not sitting in the front seat and avoiding interaction with drivers. As per police instructions,companies have to maintain drivers’ service book,including their photographs and residential addresses. Female employees are informed,in advance,about the driver’s name,cab number and the time of her pick-up and drop. Firms have also been instructed to keep drivers on a rotation basis on the pick-up and drop routes to avoid their befriending employees.

At a meeting of the Business Process Industry Association of India (BPIAI),an affiliate of CII,in Gurgaon in December 2007,a resolution was formulated under which pre-employment screening of all cab drivers by police is mandatory and the transporter will be indemnified for the behaviour of his drivers. The model was replicated in Pune,Bangalore and other cities.

Suggestions by Delhi police

Each organisation should develop a Standard Operating Procedure audited annually.

Vehicles and drivers should be routinely re-verified.

Transport should be coordinated from a control room.

Women should be given details of driver and vehicle in advance. Drivers should not be given contact numbers of women employees and a security guard should be present at all times.

Security staff and drivers should be hired only from licensed and approved agencies and prominently display their ID cards.

Details of driver as well as emergency contact numbers should be prominently displayed near the passenger seat. The information should be routinely cross-checked.

Organisations should use mini-buses or large vans.

No curtains,blinds,tints or protective film in vehicles must be allowed.

Vehicles should be equipped with a working GPS unit,emergency button that connects to control room and a two-way radio connection. Equipment must be routinely checked.

A recording system should be installed inside vehicles and occupants must be made aware of it. Severe action should be taken if it is found switched off or tampered with.

CCTV cameras should be placed at the gates where employees get into vehicles.

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