The BSIA's Lone Worker Section consists of BSIA members who specialise in providing lone worker safety products and services to customers from a wide range of industry backgrounds.
What is a lone worker?
More than six million people in the UK work either in isolation or without direct supervision, often in places or circumstances that put them at potential risk. A wide variety of organisations and industry sectors employ people whose jobs require them to work or operate alone, either regularly or occasionally.
Almost by definition, lone working can be both intimidating and at times dangerous, so the protection of lone workers involves a twofold approach; not only to provide safeguards but also to offer reassurance to the people involved.
Lone worker guidance
If your business employs lone workers, you should be aware of your legal obligations to keep lone workers safe, and should:
- Understand legal responsibilities as an employer (or occupier of a premises).
- Ensure a risk assessment is carried out and strategies implemented to provide safe working environment for the LW.
- Ensure that the LW has the relevant resources, training and information to work on their own safely.
- Have procedures to deal with a LW having an accident or signalling an emergency.
The BSIA’s Lone Worker Section has produced a comprehensive guide to help employers understand their obligations to lone workers. Download your copy of Lone Workers: An Employer’s Guide.
As a lone working employee you should know that your employer has carried out a risk assessment of your role and put in place reasonable and appropriate measures for your protection. Measures may include a risk management service as well as a defined Lone Worker Policy (LWP). It is your responsibility to conform to these measures and to accept that you have a duty to your own care also. Your employer should discuss with you the following three fundamental aspects of risks (if they are applicable) appropriate to your situation:
- The probability/exposure to violence and aggression.
- The probability/exposure to occupational risks (e.g. slips, trips, falls, electrocution, etc).
- The probability/exposure to personal well being risks (e.g. health issues; reaction under duress scenarios; ability to cope with pressure).
The BSIA’s Lone Worker Section has produced a useful guide to help lone workers understand both their own responsibilities, and those of their employer. Download your copy of Lone Workers: An Employees Guide.
BS8484: why is it important?
The development of British Standard BS8484, a Code of Practice for the provision of Lone Worker Services, has been a key element of the security industry’s work to create such solutions. BS8484 is employed and adhered to by all credible suppliers in the industry and forms the basis for police response to lone worker systems.
Responsible employers will consider the health and safety of their lone workers as a top priority, and the use of BS8484 compliant lone worker devices/applications can help by connecting such employees with an emergency response system that has direct links to the Police. BS8484 is the basis on which Police respond to lone worker systems, so it's important for employers to choose a supplier who works to these standards. A Police response cannot be guaranteed by a supplier who isn’t audited and certified to BS8484.
Choosing a system – what to look for
When sourcing lone worker solutions, the BSIA Lone Worker Section suggests that you look for systems that offer:
- Device or smartphone applications certified to BS8484
- A supplier who can prove they are audited and certified to BS8484 through audit
- Monitored by an Alarm Receiving Centre certificated to BS8484 (Part 6) and BS5979 (Cat II)**
- Solutions that fit the lone working application and risk profile of your workforce.
Smartphone software applications are also available as an alternative to using a dedicated device. While these are not always ideal for high risk lone workers, they are a viable option for some clients who do not want to carry additional hardware. Solutions offered by members of the BSIA’s Lone Worker Section are certified to BS8484 through audit - or are working towards certification in the next 12 months*.
Choosing your supplier from the BSIA’s Lone Worker Section ensures you peace of mind and quality of service.
* June 2013
** Please note that as of 30th April 2014, BS5979 was retired and temporarily replaced with BS8591. It is expected that BS8591 will retire in Q3 2016 when the next draft of European Standard EN50518 is published.