What is lone worker BS 8484 and why is it important?
Lone worker devices and ARC response services are accredited by the British Standards Association under BS 8484.
Here we take a look at what BS 8484 is, why it was introduced and why it is important to choose a lone worker solution that is BS 8484 accredited.
What is BS 8484?BS 8484 is the industry standard for the provision of lone worker devices and the corresponding Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) response to the alarms raised. It was introduced by the British Standards Institution (BSI) in 2009, and has subsequently undergone revisions in 2011 and 2016 in order to incorporate developments in the industry such as the introduction of lone worker apps.
Why was BS 8484 introduced?As the lone worker industry expanded, both the police and service providers highlighted the need for regulation to ensure that lone worker solutions met certain standards. The introduction of BS 8484 aimed to improve and certify the quality of the lone worker service and alarm response. According to the BSI: 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.” BS 8484 also incorporates advice for businesses to help them select a high quality lone worker service.
What does BS 8484 recommend employers consider when implementing a lone worker solution?As well as minimum functionality requirements, BS 8484 recommends that a lone worker solution has:
- Discreet panic functionality
- High quality audio transmission to ensure an appropriate response to alarms
What does BS 8484 recommend for the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC)?
- Operate 24 hours a day every day of the year
- Have a full business continuity plan so that their service can be resumed within 120 minutes in the event of a breach
Why is BS 8484 important?
“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” explains Patrick Dealtry, Chairman of the BSI committee responsible for developing BS 8484.
“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.”
BS 8484 provides a benchmark of quality for both the lone worker solution and the ARC that processes alarms.
ARC’s must adhere to high standards of both training and business continuity to ensure that all alarms are responded to quickly and appropriately, at all times. Call handlers are highly trained to assess and process alarms to ensure a quick resolution and ARC premises must adhere to robust security measures.
BS 8484 accredited ARCs are also able to issue a Unique Response Number (URN) which requests a direct response from the police, bypassing the 999 service.
Lone worker devices and apps that are accredited to BS 8484 are tested for their functionality to ensure that staff are adequately protected and can easily and quickly signal for help in an emergency.
BS 8484:2016 also covers training and customer support provision so end users are comfortable using the lone worker solution in an emergency and are able to minimise the incidence of false alarms. This includes providing training, telephone and email support. Providers must also meet training requirements for their own staff to ensure customers are fully informed about the service.
Choosing a BS 8484 accredited lone worker solution means you can rest assured that you are protecting your employees with a high quality and robust service.