What Are Man Down Alarms?
Man Down alarms are a piece of wearable technology that detects if a person suddenly falls, trips, or is stationary for too long and raises an alert for help.
They are often used for the elderly and lone workers because these people are at higher risks of falls, or might find it more difficult to call for help themselves.
If you have ever looked in to getting lone worker devices in your place of work you may have already heard of Man Down alarms. Almost every lone worker company talks about them and the regulatory standard, BS8484, insists on them.
But why are they so important? And aren’t they more of an annoyance then a help?
A lot of people think that the Man Down alarm will be triggered if they are just sitting still in a meeting. But that isn’t the case.
Lets have a look at some common Man Down questions.
How Do Man Down Alerts Work?
Quite simply they have a drop detector and a tilt detector in. It recognises when a device suddenly meets with an impact or dramatic tilt, indicating a person might have fallen.
That triggers a call to the monitoring station where a trained operator is listening in and assessing the situation.
Some lone worker providers have an ‘idle’ function on their Man Down alerts, so if the user has been still for too long an alarm is triggered.
At First2HelpYou, we have listened to user feedback and removed that feature, as we found it resulted in endless false alerts for people who sit in meetings or drivers, for example, and was interrupting their working day.
Who Benefits From a Man Down Feature?
Almost all lone workers can benefit from a Man Down alarm, which is why most providers build them into the lone worker device and applications.
Lone workers are always more vulnerable to slips, trips, and falls, because they may be alone when the fall occurs and might find it difficult to attract attention for help.
Lets have a look at some specific risks.
Man Down for Those Working at Height
Working at height is dangerous. Even with all the regulations and safety equipment out there, accidents happen. And the consequences of falling from a height can, obviously, be more devastating than falling from standing.
A person who falls from height might become entangled in their safety equipment and find it difficult to reach their mobile phone or lone worker device to call for help.
Or worse, they might be unconscious.
This is when an automated Man Down detection capability can be life saving.
Man Down for Remote Workers
Tens of thousands of people work entirely on their own all day, without any contact or supervision from anyone else, whether they be home workers, field scientists, park rangers, or security guards.
If a remote worker falls or is taken ill it could be hours before anyone finds them, sometimes longer.
Something as simple as a twisted ankle becomes life threatening if a person is stranded outside in winter, unable to walk, for hours.
Being able to raise a Man Down alert and have it quickly recognised and dealt with by an operator can save someone’s life.
Man Down for Those With Medical Conditions
Lone workers who suffers from life long conditions, such as Asthma or Diabetes, benefit hugely from Man Down alarms.
And the benefits are obvious really. Suddenly falling over could indicate the person is having a medical emergency. Man Down will trigger the call to the monitoring station who will see it register as a Man Down and will be able to call an ambulance to the correct location using the GPS capabilities of the device.
Reducing False Man Down Alerts
Here at First2HelpYou we have been working in the industry for a decade each and have seen it all. When we formed First2HelpYou we combined this knowledge to create a device that would counteract all the regular issues we saw with Man Down.
One of the big problems we saw was a high number of false alerts through the settings being too sensitive. Our KIT Device is fully configurable so we can turn down the sensitivity a touch if your staff are low risk, or find there are too many false alerts.
We also determined that there were too many job roles that require staff to sit with service users in sessions and didn’t want attention drawn to the fact that they are wearing a lone worker device, such as probation officers.
We found that having the device trigger a red alert during these occasions was not only disruptive to the meeting, but also sometimes put the lone worker in more danger.
Is Man Down on All Lone Worker Devices?
For a device or app to be considered BS8484 compliant, which is the industry standard, they need to have Man Down on. The KIT Device and Android app have both been certified to BS8484 standards and have Man Down on.
The iPhone application, however, is not BS84848 compliant because Man Down cannot work on it. In order for Man Down to work on an iPhone, the home screen would need to be overridden, and this isn’t possible because of the firmware Apple have on them.
So, beware of lone worker providers saying their iPhone app is BS8484 compliant, because at the moment, it cannot be.