Lone Worker Monitoring: Choosing the Right Safety System
Effective lone worker protection combines the most appropriate devices with responsive lone worker monitoring software and support. Here are some things to consider prior to committing to a new safety system.
Identifying Lone Worker Types
Fully understanding who your lone workers are is a crucial first step. Lone working roles can be split into three distinct categories, each facing their own set of risks and requiring different types of support. Selecting the most appropriate safety device, based on role and risk, is essential.
1. Public-Facing Lone Workers
These deal with members of the public on a daily basis and typically require a safety device that can discreetly raise an activation message/call and record verbal abuse. Consider: Identicom 877, Lone Worker App.
2. Mobile Lone Workers
Employees like engineers and drivers often work in high risk and remote environments. The ability for them to check-in to their specific location and call for help, when needed, is paramount. Consider: Twig Protector, Lone Worker App, Standard Mobile.
3. Fixed-Site Lone Workers
These people are most commonly injured from slips, trips and falls from heights. Lone worker devices that use ‘Man Down’ functionality can be a key requirement. Consider: Twig Protector, Lone Worker App, Spot Gen3.
Many of our lone worker devices provide Amber Alert, Red Alert and Man Down functionality.
Here’s a brief overview of each feature…
Employees can create an Amber Alert prior to commencing a lone working activity that may be risky. For example, an estate agent should do this prior to entering a property with a client.
The lone worker enters details of their location and a time when the possible threat is expected to cease. If the Amber Alert isn’t cancelled within that set time period, a Red Alert will automatically be raised.
Red Alerts are generated in an emergency situation or if a lone worker feels unsafe. Pressing a Red Alert button immediately notifies an operator at the Alarm Receiving Centre who will listen in and assess the situation.
They may contact the lone worker through their device or mobile phone and will escalate to the emergency services if required.
Man Down Alerts
A Man Down Alert works in the same way as a Red Alert, though its purpose is to protect lone workers even when they are unable to physically raise an alarm themselves.
If a device remains stationary for a period of time or is subject to a sudden impact, the device will send a Man Down Alert to the Alarm Receiving Centre.
Note: All of our lone worker devices transmit data to our fully-accredited Alarm Receiving Centre and lone worker monitoring software, Vision.
If summoning emergency police assistance is necessary, then a BS8484 compliant system is essential.
Section 5 of BS8484 (the British Standard for the provision of lone worker safety device services) defines the essential functionality required from a lone worker device or app. This includes:
- Audio Red Alert capability
- Red Alert call will keep trying if unsuccessful
- Red Alert call is confirmed as answered
- Operator can dial into the device
- Check-in: Amber Alert capability
- Location of device is available
- Sufficient battery life and low battery warning
- Signal strength indication
- Minimising the causes of false alarms
The full standard is much more comprehensive, and also considers environmental and people risk. However, in short, if summoning emergency police assistance is necessary, then a BS8484 compliant device (and lone worker service) is paramount.
The certification enables the highest level of police response, through Unique Reference Numbers (URNs) – enabling Alarm Receiving Centres to bypass the 999 service and guarantee a faster emergency response.
Things to Consider
Before committing to a new lone worker system, consider the following:
- Do you know who your lone workers are?
- Do you fully understand the risks they face?
- Do you know which of your lone workers need a BS8484 compliant device /system?
- Can the device provide regular GPS locations?
- Will the device provide sufficient battery-life?
When considering a lone worker service provider, it’s also important to ask:
- Are they fully BS8484 compliant?
- Will users receive face-to-face device training? (to maximise usage)
- Is their Alarm Receiving Centre fully certified (typically to BS5979 or EN50518)
- How quickly will an alert be responded to?
- Will lone worker monitoring software provide real-time reporting?