For any service provider, it’s important to be able to demonstrate their credentials. Potential customers need to know the standards they can expect. Existing customers need to know how they can hold suppliers to account. And given the nature of protecting people in their everyday working lives, it’s especially vital in the field of lone worker services. We often mention in our blog that Lone Worker Solutions is BS8484:2016 certified, and that our Safe Hub devices and services hold Gold Standard certification. In this blog, we’re going to look in more detail about what that means in practice.
Compliance with BS8484:2016 code of practice gets an emergency response
BS8484 is the British Standard for the provision of lone worker safety device services. In 2009, the British Standards Institution (BSI) introduced BS8484 to set a benchmark for those who provide lone worker safety services. To keep pace with developments, particularly in the technology underpinning these services, the BSI reviewed and updated BS8484 in 2016. As a result, the new BS8484:2016 standard was launched, which now acts as a code of practice to providers of lone worker services.
To achieve compliance with the standard, providers must be able to demonstrate to auditors that they meet all requirements. This includes basic issues such as the management structure of their organisation, financial stability, adequate insurance, and robust data protection and privacy policies. Ultimately, the BS8484 review benefited lone workers and their employers, and improved relations between lone worker safety solution providers and emergency services. And this last point is vital. The National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) ensure that police will only respond to lone worker alarms if the solution provided is certified by audit to BS8484.
Consistent quality service delivered through devices and applications
When the safety of people is paramount, the associated service needs to be of the highest quality and consistency. With the BS8484:2016 code of practice, lone worker service providers must always work from the ground up, starting with a lone worker’s risk assessment. At heart, lone worker safety providers must explain how the needs of the client and their employees will benefit from the solution provided.
Greater detail on the design of lone worker safety services is now found in sections 5 to 7 of the code. Section 5 focuses on devices and applications. The code of practice outlines essential functions (such as our Red Alerts and Worker Down), which are useful for different categories of lone worker. These are split between people risk and environmental risk, allowing for a greater range of support for individual lone workers.
Training, support– and how to respond to lone worker alerts
In terms of training and support, section 6 of the code recognises that lone worker safety relies on having a health and safety culture fully embedded in the workplace. Effective training must help staff understand why they need to use their devices, not just how to use them. And this includes elements such as how to raise the alarm discreetly and how to minimise false alarms. Providers should also provide support activities and management tools to help employers encourage usage of the devices or apps.
As for 24/7 alarm receiving activities, section 7 of the code of practice now provides comprehensive input as to the quality and clarity of process required to achieve the standard for lone worker safety. Mandatory response times to incoming alerts have been reduced to 10 seconds in 80% of occasions. There is clearer detail on how to measure the timing of the critical points in the ARC red alert process. The requirement for quality operators is underpinned by training support and operational guidance that needs to be available.
How Safe Hub delivers gold standard service under BS8484:2016
We’re BS8484:2016 certified by audit by the British Security Industry Association (BSIA). In designing and delivering our lone worker safety services, we pay particular attention to areas of the code of practice mentioned above. We’re hugely proud of the fact that we more than meet the outlined standards. Our apps and devices offer the broadest possible range of safety functions, allowing us to customise a response for individual job roles. As we looked at in detail in a recent blog, Safe Hub training is very much focused on delivering the best for lone workers, providing support for every lone worker. And as for mandatory response times, we far exceed the standard; our latest figures show our ARC responding to over 90% of alerts within 10 seconds, and an average response time of 8.6 seconds.
As well as holding membership for the BSIA, Lone Worker Solutions and Safe Hub are also approved as Gold Standard by the National Security Inspectorate under its Guarding Gold scheme. This is further reinforced by the fact that our main UK Alarm Receiving Centre partner, Mitec, is approved to NSI Quality Schedule BS5979 Gold Category II. Most importantly, this allows them to escalate an emergency response, bypassing normal 999 procedures and saving valuable time in getting to lone workers in a crisis. There’s the risk that accreditation schemes end up looking like alphabet soup. Here at Lone Worker Solutions, we always put these letters in order for our clients by being straightforward about our services. Indeed, we explain to our customers how we follow codes of practice to the letter. We always strive for excellence in lone worker safety – and our approach to the BS8484:2016 code of practice is no exception. To find out about how we offer gold standard lone worker safety services under the BS8484:2016 code of practice, contact Lone Worker Solutions and the Safe Hub team today.
Post by George Stavrinidis
George is Chief Executive Officer of Lone Worker Solutions (LWS). He believes passionately that everyone should be protected and supported at work. George supports LWS clients to make sure they enjoy the most effective relationship with the team and maximise the effectiveness of their deployment of Safe Hub.