New BSI guidance to help protect lone workers
9 October 2009
BSI has published a Code of Practice which gives recommendations for the provision of services based on lone worker devices (LWD).
Increasing numbers of people in the UK work alone: either away from their organization’s base, at home or during abnormal hours. Working alone can create additional health and safety risks and lone worker devices (LWD), electronic devices able to transmit location, identity and voice to a monitoring centre and request assistance, offer additional personal security.
BS 8484 Code of practice for the provision of lone worker device (LWD) services has been developed in response to a demand from the security industry to promote best practice when providing a LWD service to customers, and to create a benchmark against which LWD services can be measured. Compliance with this code of practice by service providers will enable both effective use of resources and maintenance of a good level of support for lone workers. BS 8484 also aims to reduce the number of false alarms received by the response services.
As well as offering recommendations on the minimum essential functionality of the LWD, BS 8484 recommends a number of considerations for selecting a LWD, which include:
• Capability to be discreetly activated (i.e. so that there are no obvious signs of activation to an aggressor);
• The quality of the audio transmission, essential when assessing the situation, requesting the right response and in preventing false alarms.
BS 8484 also contains recommendations for the service provided by the alarm receiving centre (ARC), including:
• The ARC should operate 24 hours a day, every day of the year;
• The ARC should have a full business continuity plan to enable continued monitoring of activation messages from alternative premises within 120 minutes.
In addition the standard calls attention to the requirements of the police regarding police response.
Patrick Dealtry, Chairman of the BSI committee responsible for developing BS 8484, said: “Employers have an obligation to ensure the health and safety of their workforce whether they are in an office or working at home, working nine to five or through the night. Lone worker services, combining LWDs and ARCs, enable lone workers to transmit their location and be confident someone is working on their behalf to request assistance when they are in trouble. BS 8484 makes recommendations for this increasingly used service, which will establish best practice in helping employers to look after vulnerable staff.”
For more information on BS 8484 visit the BSI website.
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