BS8484 Recommendations For Protecting Lone Workers
BS8484 is the British Standard that governs the lone worker sector. It’s 2016 addition outlines their recommendations on protecting lone workers, which we have summarised for you below.
Who is BS8484 For?
BS8484 is guidance for the lone worker solution providers, but it is also very much for the customer.
Each lone worker service provider should be audited at least every year to make sure that their lone worker protection solutions are adequate and safe.
Ultimately, the lives of lone workers are in the balance so the supplier, their products, monitoring, and processes need to be secure, dependable and suitable.
‘Considering employee safety and security at a strategic level leads to a culture of safety at work at the operational level.’ BS8484:2016
If you are looking to implement a lone worker protection solution, it is wise to familiarise yourself with BS8484 recommendations. You can also have a look at our guide What is BS8484? for an overview of the standard.
For further information or a hard copy of the guidance, take a look on the BSI website where copies can be ordered.
As mentioned, BS8484 isn’t just for companies that sell lone worker devices; it can also be used as a guide for employers wanting to do their best to protect their staff.
Let us look at some of the recommendations in BS8484:
Do you know if you have a healthy safety culture or not? When a business has what can be described as a ‘good safety culture’, it means that safety is so established in the psyche of your team that doing things the right, and safe way becomes an integral part of daily operational activities. This includes lone worker protection. BS8484 recommends if you haven’t already, pulling a strategy together for how you will improve your safety culture.
Risk assessments are one of the most important things you can do when it comes to establishing risk and deciding what you can do to reduce or completely eliminate risk. It’s no different when it comes to lone working. Risk assessments form part of your responsibility towards your lone workers and are a handy way to work out what steps you will put in place to protect staff. Risk assessments can be both anticipated risk and dynamic risk:
- Anticipated risk – the more traditional form of risk assessment is where you work out the types of hazard lone workers will face and how high the risk is based on previous experience and business knowledge. Risk assessments must be done, by law and separate ones are usually done for lone workers due to the varied and diverse tasks they may carry out. You can read more about lone worker risk assessments here.
- Dynamic risk – dynamic risk is different to the above because it usually happens out in the field and is a continuous process. Not all risk can be anticipated which is why it is important that your lone workers are aware of changing risks and have the skills to be able to think quickly and assess a situation. You can read more about dynamic risk assessments here.
A lone worker policy should be created based on the findings of your risk assessments. The policy should act as guidance for managers and employees on who is responsible for what aspects of lone working. The policy should be easily accessible, shown to all new employees, and reviewed/updated regularly. Here are some of the points BS8484 recommends to include:
- Establishing which employees are lone workers, either occasionally or for the majority of their employment
- Conferring with lone workers (for feedback and recommendations)
- Devising appropriate procedures to protect employees when they are away from direct supervision
If you don’t already have a lone worker policy in place you may find our guide helpful.
Lone worker procedures are usually detailed in your lone worker policy. BS8484 recommends your lone worker procedures are directed towards:
- Avoiding incidents – avoiding lone worker incidents is better than trying to sort them out. There are many steps you can take to avoid incidents. For example, equipping lone workers with the skills to be able to carry out dynamic risk assessments and reduce the likelihood of incidents occurring or escalating.
- Managing incidents – it is important that any incidents are treated with due care and attention. A full review of the whys and how’s, as well as what you can do to prevent such an incident occurring again. It is important that lessons are learnt from incidents and that they’re reflected in your policy and future procedures.
- Calling for help – BS8484 recommends putting in place a procedure by which lone workers can call for help when it is needed. This is where lone worker service companies, like us, come in. There is a range of lone worker products out there which you can equip your staff with.
- Training – another important way for you to help protect your staff is lone worker safety training. There are many courses and types of training available for lone workers, form personal safety training and dynamic risk assessment, to self-defence. The better you prepare and equip your lone workers, the safer they will be.
- Management of lone workers – we have written extensively about managing lone workers on our blog. From handling depressing, making sure staff aren’t isolated and a range of other topics. Have a browse through our blog here. Management of lone workers takes care and sensitivity, and a thorough understanding of the risks and how they can be managed.
Protection For Lone Workers
We hope you found this guide helpful; legislation can sometimes be tricky to go through and pull out the most important bits which is why we have extracted what we feel are some of the most relevant bits of BS84848 and expanded on what the guidance means.
For further advice on lone worker protection and BS84848 please get in touch using our contact page, or call us on 0333 7729401.