Aug 042015
 
NSI Silver Certificate of Approval for Lone Worker Device Services - BS8484

NSI Silver Certificate of Approval for Lone Worker Device Services – BS8484

Congratulations to StaySafe for achieving NSI Guarding Silver status for the “provision of Lone Worker Device Services” complying with British Standard BS8484! (Code of Practice for the provision of lone worker device services).

StaySafe is now one of only a handful of lone worker safety devices available that meet the current industry standards of approval, and one of even fewer smartphone lone worker applications.

Intended mainly for businesses and enterprises, StaySafe Business is available globally. It uses a smartphone App and GPS location updates via an online Hub, and automatically sends alerts to emergency contacts if a lone worker needs help in case of accident or emergency.

What Does BS8484 Accreditation Mean?

In the UK. UK Police won’t guarantee a response to a lone worker device unless the supplier has been audited and certified to BS8484. When a lone worker device like StaySafe that complies with BS8484 is linked with an accredited ARC (Alarm Receiving Centre), it forms a response system that has direct links to the police. In an emergency, this will obviously save valuable time, and ensures that lone workers supplied with an accredited device get priority when they need help. Whilst lone worker devices won’t usually prevent incidents from occurring in the first place, they certainly reduce delay and the consequences of delay.

Everywhere Else. Every StaySafe user, wherever located, benefits from a solution that has been independently audited and meets the highest industry standards. This is good to know when you’re talking about a system designed to keep staff safe and free from harm when working alone!

Advice For Choosing a Lone Worker Solution

The BSIA (British Securities Industry Association) recommends the following when choosing a lone worker solution for your organization:
• A devices or smartphone application that is certified to BS8484
• A supplier who can prove they are audited and certified to BS8484
• Monitored by an Alarm Receiving Centre certificated to BS8484 (Part 6) and BS5979 (Cat II)
• Solutions that fit the lone working application and risk profiles of your workforce.

Smartphone lone worker applications are growing in capability, sophistication and popularity, and will more and more often be found to be a viable and cost-effective alternative to a dedicated device, especially for those who don’t want or need to purchase or carry additional hardware.

Click here to learn more about StaySafe Lone Worker Solution or ask for an info pack.

 Posted by at 7:49 am
Oct 202014
 

We’re deligLone Working Grouphted to be working with Patrick Dealtry, recognised expert in lone working, founder and owner of the Loneworking Group.

Following careers in the military and the security industry, Patrick has been actively engaged in the Lone Worker market since 2001 when he founded the Lone Worker Steering Group with, among others, the NHS Security Service, the HSE, the TUC and the Suzy Lamplugh Trust.

In 2003 he co-founded Skyguard, one of the pioneers, and now one of the market leaders, supplying the full range of Lone Worker services.  He left the company in 2011 to pursue other interests in the Lone Worker market.

Patrick wrote the original draft of the Lone Worker standard, BS8484, at the request of the Association of Chief Police Officers and then steered it through the British Standards Institute system to publishing in 2009.

Since 2011 Patrick has operated as a Lone Worker consultant, advising companies on how to enter the market and develop their services as well as advising companies on how best to protect their Lone Workers.  He also writes articles, blogs, speaks at and chairs Lone Worker events and acts as a judge for the IFSEC Security and Fire Awards.

He has been chairman of the British Security Industry Association, (BSIA), Lone Worker Section since its start and is a passionate campaigner for best practice in the lone worker market.

In 2010 Patrick received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for services to standards in the security industry.

To contact Patrick please contact us and we will be happy to introduce you.

 Posted by at 8:57 pm
Oct 172014
 

We’re surveyingWarning.Lone Workers at Risk4 lone workers around the world to find out what their real issues, risks and concerns are.  If you’re a lone worker we’d like to invite you to participate in this short survey.  The goal is to gain a better understanding of the pressures and challenges lone workers face, get a better picture of the real levels of violence, abuse and accidents that occur, and gather data so we can develop solutions to help make work safer for lone workers.

Many people work alone.  With no-one to rely on to help in case of accident or emergency, lone workers are at greater risk than if they had the support of colleagues nearby.

We have found the public information about lone working to be generally very poor.  Whilst there is plenty of information to be found about accidents and injuries at work, there is very little that links that data with lone work and lone working practices.  We want to address that situation.

Why now?  European Week for Safety and Health at Work 2014 takes place next week, and October is Safe Work Month in Australia, so we decided the time is right to commission an online survey to ask lone workers what they really think and what it’s really like out there.

Please participate in the survey; we truly appreciate your input.  This is our first worldwide survey into lone working, and we hope you can help us circulate it as widely as possible, whether you think of yourself as a lone worker or not, and forward it to as many colleagues, acquaintances, friends and family as appropriate. (There are links on the survey that make it really simple to share).

Here is the link http://loneworkersurvey.questionpro.com

The survey will take approximately 5 minutes to complete.  Responses are in strict confidence and data from this research will be reported only in the aggregate.  We will be delighted to share our findings with you upon request.

Thank you.

 Posted by at 11:42 pm
Oct 162014
 
Lone Worker Panic Alarm1

Smartphone Lone Worker Safety App showing countdown timer and panic alarm.

Having just read about another lone worker fatality, this time the kidnapping and murder of a real estate agent in Toronto, Canada, it’s worth considering how a good lone worker safety app on the agent’s phone, combined with proper training & management, could have allowed help to find him quickly and maybe even have kept him alive. It is important to recognise the role that “proper training & management” plays, and it would seem the primary failing (apart from that of the killer of course) was the management failure for which no amount of lone worker apps and devices could have compensated. However, my discussion here is about smartphone based lone worker apps, and how to go about choosing one from another. Don’t make the mistake of thinking they’re all the same!

Smartphones – mobiles & cell phones – are everywhere. And as a safety device, they can be a lifesaver. They can be tracked through GPS, provide two-way communication, may already be carried by workers (meaning no extra capital costs or additional devices to carry, remember and keep charged), and are well supported with a wide variety of safety specific apps. These solutions are often simple and easy to use, and are also a powerful and cost-effective tool to help an organization maintain control over its lone workers.

Depending on the risks you’ve assessed, and some evident limitations (e.g. network coverage), a smartphone based lone worker management system, supported with careful planning, policies and safe working practices offers a robust, effective and reliable tool to mitigate many, perhaps the majority of, lone working risks.

Good lone worker management is a combination of both prevention and response. Lone worker devices are not good at prevention. They don’t prevent incidents from happening – that is down to an organization’s policies and procedures, training, safe systems of work, culture and habits. What they are good at however, is response. By bringing the three key elements of person, location and situation together the system enables a person monitoring to be swiftly informed about an incident so they can verify, escalate and respond rapidly. Some solutions are web based, meaning the person monitoring is not tied to a desk but has the flexibility to respond from wherever they are using any web enabled device including another phone or tablet.

Buying a lone worker management system can be confusing. There are many suppliers, different levels of support, service and monitoring options available. So let’s assume you’ve done your risk assessments, you’ve investigated all the alternatives, and you’ve decided that a smartphone-based solution offers the most appropriate risk mitigation option for your lone workers. So what do you need to consider when choosing the right lone worker solution for your business, and what information do you need before you implement a solution or approach a supplier?

Lone worker management systems primarily mitigate risks and help keep lone workers safe of course, but they can also offer productivity and organizational benefits as well, so firstly consider what you require from your system. So consider what you want to achieve by implementing a lone worker system.

1. To meet primary duty of care obligations, stay in compliance with health & safety regulations and eliminate as far as is reasonably practicable the risks associated with lone work.
2. To reduce risks and safeguard your organisation, its reputation and reduce personal risks to its officers.
3. To increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your organization and its staff, especially revenue-generating employees, with productivity, economic and organizational benefits.
4. To promote peace of mind and boost morale with your employees, who need to be able to trust that someone is looking out for them who can and will respond if they need help.
5. To be able to send messages, alerts & warnings instantly and in bulk to your lone workers (e.g. on-campus university students in a crisis).

A good smartphone-based lone worker management system can do all this for you. Others will meet some of your requirements, but be prepared to make compromises.

To offer a starting point for you to compare different systems, here is a detailed Lone Worker smartphone evaluation guide for you to download.

The better lone worker systems will allow you to see on a map, in real time, where your lone workers actually are, not where they’re supposed to be, and be assured that they’re ok. Regular, automated contact, combined with the capacity to alert you when they’re in trouble helps you meet your duty of care. Panic, duress, non-movement and expired session events are all cause for concern and will trigger alerts so you are informed immediately and know exactly where to send help. Two-way voice communication in an emergency allows the lone worker to hear their controller, who can provide reassurance and updates on response progress.  But the controller can also hear ambient sounds, important for verifying the authenticity of the alert.

The system can offer other advantages too. A complete record of each tracked session, including response, is retained and can be used later for training, audit, or even as evidence in an investigation. Regular reports show individual usage history and patterns and help management ensure the system is used and policies complied with. But one of the biggest benefits you may experience from your lone worker system is the ability to reduce, if not eliminate all the “noise” of check in/check out activity, sharing of calendars and diaries, and tedious emails, texts and phone calls that distract and impact on productivity both with the lone worker themselves and those back in the office monitoring them.

One electrical contractor I know requires their people to take screen shots of their location on their smartphone and paste them into emails, which they then send to their supervisor. And they have to do this every time they change location, often many times a day! There are better ways in this day and age!

A smartphone based lone worker management system offers organizations many advantages, but please don’t confuse the many free and cheap “tracker” apps on the market with proper lone worker management systems. Generally speaking they cannot be expected to adequately mitigate lone worker risks for organizations where safety is taken seriously.

 Posted by at 8:12 pm
Aug 032014
 

Apple_iPhone1Some years ago a friend was trying to move a pool table by himself because the roof above had started to leak during a rainstorm.  The table collapsed suddenly, pinning him underneath.  Those things are heavy!  Fortunately he’d placed his mobile phone on top before trying to move the table, and it luckily fell within reach so he was able to call for help.  This wasn’t a work situation, and he didn’t sustain serious injuries, but having the phone right there enabled a swift response that reduced the consequences that delay might otherwise have caused.

The mobile phone you carry with you every day is part of a communication network that can potentially save a life, including yours.

Many people work alone with no one they can rely on nearby to come to their assistance in case of accident or emergency.  They could be working alone on a worksite, or even on the same site but out of the sight and hearing of their workmates.  They could be in a remote location, working from home or travelling in the course of work.  Even today many employers have no visibility of where their lone workers actually are, assuming they’re okay without really knowing for sure.

There are a variety of portable alarm systems available for lone workers with varying degrees of sophistication and capability, the most suitable depending on the particular circumstances and risks.  It goes without saying that any system must ensure that lone workers are able to raise an alert and be accurately located so that help can quickly be sent.

The use of mobile, or cell phones, is widespread nowadays.  As a safety device, they benefit from being able to be tracked through GPS, provide two-way communication, are generally already carried by workers (meaning no extra capital costs or additional devices to carry and keep charged), are supported by a variety of safety specific apps, and can be very cost-effective.

Especially when combined with the right app & backend system and support, perhaps even linked to an ARC monitoring & response service, a regular smartphone can reduce risks for lone workers, automatically triggering alerts under a variety of circumstances (panic, session expiry, duress, man down etc.) so that the person(s) monitoring knows that a worker is in trouble and exactly where they are so they can respond without delay.

However mobile phones cannot be relied upon as an effective means of communication in areas with poor network coverage of course.  Geographical or man-made features may impede their use or accuracy.  Battery life may be an issue.  They may not be appropriate where there is a risk of sudden attack or assault for example.

Systems can’t prevent accidents or assault and will never be a substitute for good planning or the implementation of safe working practices.  However, when there is an emergency the phone a lone worker is probably already carrying with them, capable of summoning help and minimising delay, may be a lifesaver.

May I ask:

  • Have you had any experience yourself in implementing mobile/cell phone systems for lone worker protection?
  • Do you know any cases where such a system has triggered an alert for a genuine emergency?
 Posted by at 6:36 pm