The BS 8484 Lone Worker Standard
The code of practice for lone worker device services
BS 8484:2016 is the lone worker British Standard, a code of practice for the provision of lone worker solutions in the UK. First introduced in 2009, the 3rd version of the standard, BS 8484:2016, was published in August 2016 and is the benchmark for credible lone worker solutions.
SoloProtect was the first lone worker solution provider to be audited and approved against the standard by the NSI. It enables a solution specifier to benchmark a quality solution - to distinguish between the varying components and the key performance indicators affecting each. (SoloProtect is also certified to ISO9001 and ISO 27001)
BS 8484 also drives solution providers to deliver greater transparency across all elements of their solution. This includes information on their organisational structure and governance, the lone worker device or application utilised within the solution, and the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) supporting the estate of lone workers.
The standard is broken down into several key sections:
Section 4 - Supplier Recommendations
Looks at the structure of a business and how it operates - its management, integrity, financial stability, insurance, security and data retention / handling.
Section 5 - Lone Worker Device or Application
Looks at the essential functionality required from a Lone Worker Device or Application, and how it / they can be used to reduce the impact of both 'People Risk' and 'Environmental Risk'.
Section 6 - Training and Support
Outlines that a supplier should have clear training policies and supporting documents to train both its own employees and its customers. Also outlines a range of customer support mechanisms that should be in place to give customers good accessibility to the solution and the opportunity to maximise their investment.
Section 7 - The Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC)
Focusses on the ARC's operational functions and environment, the service provided, and the ARC Operators, training and procedures followed.
It also makes reference to the several, overlapping Alarm Receiving Centre standards that have been an acceptable accreditation for the ARC component of a solution, since the standard's introduction. BS 8484:2016 foreward states:
"At the time of publication, there are several standards for alarm receiving centres (ARC's) available:
- the BS EN 50518 series;
- BS 8591;
- BS 5979:2007
As a result of the publication of the BS EN 50518 series, BS 5979:2007 was withdrawn, but suppliers may wish to continue using ARC's which conform to BS 5979:2007".
Source: BS 8484:2016
The SoloProtect Alarm Receiving Centre is certified to EN 50518.
Other stakeholders such as the Police:
Accreditation against the standard also ensures that, where appropriate, a lone worker alarm can be escalated to the Police via the Unique Reference Number (URN) accreditation sitting with the ARC. A URN allows the ARC to bypass the central 999 system and instead dial directly into the control room of the relevant Police force. This makes the process as efficient as possible, potentially saving time when every second counts for the lone worker in distress.
The updated standard also outlines the required process an ARC should follow during a genuine ‘Red Alert’. This includes guidelines that any authorized device or app, from the initial button press to the alarm connection at the ARC, achieves an effective activation message and call, within 30 seconds. Along with this, all suppliers are now be required to report a number of ARC statistics to their customers on a monthly basis.
The reporting of this kind of data had not previously been common practice and therefore, represents a significant change for any employer implementing a lone worker solution, on which to judge supplier performance.
It also allows clear and reliable parameters on which to judge, and compare performance relating to the ARC solution component of any lone worker solution.