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For Street-Based Workers

**The purpose of these tips is to lower our risk in our workplace. As with any job, no workplace is risk-free. We know that no matter how many steps we take to protect ourselves, some people will not respect our boundaries and our bodies. THAT IS NOT OUR FAULT. We have the right to take steps to make our work environment safe.**

*The following information can be found in the St. James Infirmary Occupational Health and Safety Guide

  • If you’re working out of cars:
    • Do not carry a weapon that can be taken away from you and used against
      you.
    • If you are threatened or being attacked, use your voice. Make a lot of noise. Scream! Turn on the car lights. Hit the horn. Try to get the door open, attack and run.
    • Attack soft areas, such as throat, eyes, Adam’s apple, nose,
      testicles. Kick shins, stamp on instep; poke with fingers, nails, keys, spray
      hairspray in his face.
    • Do not let him restrain you; if you see rope, handcuffs
      or bindings,fight like hell!
    • Break a strangle hold by joining hands, and swinging your arms up against him while simultaneously moving your body down and away.
    • Run against traffic, and toward lights and people.
    • Approach the driver’s window, keeping enough distance to avoid being grabbed, assaulted with spit or spray paint, or pleasing “window
      shoppers.”
    • Study the customer, the car, and the door-lock system.
    • Circle car completely before entering so you’re clear on how many
      passengers are in the car—and take the license plate number or
      pretend to. If you can, text-message all license plates to a safe person.
    • Arrange price, service and location outside the car.
    • Wave good-bye to work partner (or pretend to) and shout expected
      return time.
    • Before you get in, make sure the passenger-side door can open from
      the inside—if not, DON’T get into the car!
    • Before you close your door, check the back seat or rear cab of a truck for anyone else that may be hiding. If you see a blanket, lift it up and
      check underneath!
    • Get a good look at the customer and the car; it’s still not too late to
      back out—if he’s drunker than you thought, you see a weapon under
      his seat, or you get a creepy feeling, get out immediately!
    • Let him see you stash his payment, and keep it separate from the rest
      of your money—if he tries to rob you maybe he won’t find your whole
      bankroll.
    • If you carry a purse, put it where you can find it without looking (in an
      open space on the floor between your feet).
    • Act in control and keep your eyes on him, and his hands, at all times.
    • Don’t let him get between you and the exit.
    • Once parked, keep door open a crack if he lets you.

More tips to share? Contact us!