1. Who Is Responsible For The Health & Safety Of Sub-Contractors?
HSE state, “if you have a contractor working for you, then both you and the contractor will have duties under health and safety law. This also applies when a contractor employs sub-contractors.”
It is a case-by-case basis if an incident were to occur but there is a dual responsibility that employees act responsibly and employers carry out sufficient risk assessments and have effective standards and checks in place.
2. Am I Responsible When People Are Coming To And From Work?
This depends on the contracts that you have with your employees. If your employees will be moving from client to client or if they are classed as mobile workers, then you need to consider their safety from the moment they leave their door. A risk assessment should be carried out and effective procedures and training should be put in place.
Even if your employees are using their own vehicle to travel to clients or meetings, you are responsible for checking that their cars are fit for purpose. For example, is their tyre pressure within the legal limit? Of course, the employees also hold responsibility for ensuring that they drive sensibly.
If your employees are simply travelling to the same place of work every day then as an employer, you don’t hold any responsibility for their safety.
3. Is A Lone Worker Solution Legally Required?
From a legislative point of view, nothing will happen if you do not have a solution in place as long as there are no incidents. However, in the case of an incident, the HSE would come in and investigate whether all reasonable steps were taken to mitigate against the incident occurring as employers do have a legal duty of care to their employers. If no solution is in place, then this is harder to defend.
4. Why Not Just Call 999?
Although calling 999 provides an effective service, there are many reasons why a lone worker solution is a much better alternative:
All details are knownWhen you use a lone worker device, your contact information, location and escalation procedures are already known by the ARC. If you were to call 999, they don’t know who is calling, where they are or why they have called. Also, if the lone worker is in a panic, they are going to be less able to convey accurate information.
SpeedIt is a much quicker process to press an SOS button than to make a phone call and explain all details.
You can’t call 999 in advanceLone worker solutions often allow lone workers to log when they are going into a dangerous or threatening environment.
5. What Is BS 8484?
BS 8484 is the British Standards Institute (BSI) code of practice for the Provision of Lone Worker Device Services. It was introduced after Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) recognised a need to control false alarms. It was first published in 2009 and heavily revised in 2016.
The BS 8484 standard lays down the requirements for companies offering lone worker services. It sets the capability and functionality of the devices and apps they provide and the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) used by the companies. The 5 main components are outlined below:
- The company – its stability, insurance, premises, staff and financial backing
- The devices and smartphone apps – are they fit for purpose?
- Staff, client training and support
- The Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) and its capability to monitor lone working alarms
- The response services
6. How Expensive Are Lone Worker Solutions?
Pricing of lone worker solutions tend to be based on three factors:
- The number of lone workers you want to protect
- How long of contract you want (normally 1, 2 or 3 year options)
- The type of solution you require i.e. a physical device or an app
You need to be careful that you don’t fall into the trap of signing up for a 3-year contract and then are left with no support for that period. You should also be aware of potential activation costs, set up costs and connection charges. These tend to be hidden and can substantially increase the overall cost of the solution.
Fortunately, at Pick Protection, we have no hidden costs. We offer ongoing support the full time you are with us and also have a training programme that can be adapted to meet your requirements.
Furthermore, Pick Protection provide a cheaper solution for businesses looking to manage our solution in-house. This option is a self-managed app where if the alarm is activated, an alert is sent to pre-determined contacts.