Written by Alicia Mather, First2HelpYou

What Do Lone Worker Devices Do Exactly?


Quite simply, a lone worker device lets your staff connect directly to an operator if they are in trouble and need assistance. Crucially, most devices can be activated discreetly, so as not to put device users at further risk by alerting the aggressor to their request for help.

An operator can listen in to the device when a ‘Red Alert’ is opened and can decide whether to ring the emergency services or the users’ colleague.

The decision is usually based on what assistance the user feels they need, who is likely to provide the most appropriate level of support, and who can get there first.

A user can also leave an ‘Amber Alert’, which is a sort of voicemail and a timer. Your colleague can leave a recording saying where they are going and what task they are carrying out, and then set a timer going to trigger a Red Alert if they don’t confirm that they are safe and well within the time allocated.

It is usually a little fob, ID badge, or sometimes looks like a chunky phone. There is also often a mobile phone app that can be used on both android and IOS.

A Lone Worker Device Can Help In A Medical Emergency


Most lone worker devices are fitted with Man Down alarms. This means the device starts a Red Alert when it senses that the wearer has fallen.

It is also activated if the wearer has been stationary for too long when the device is in a state of readiness, usually an ‘Amber Alert’.

This is useful if your colleague has been taken suddenly ill or is injured.

If the Man Down alarm is activated, the operator will listen in to the device and will attempt to contact the wearer through the device. If conscious and able to speak, the wearer will be able to speak back to the operator to request assistance or tell them what is wrong.

If there is no response, the operator will usually contact a named first responder to check on their colleague.

The operator may also choose to call the emergency services if appropriate.

A Lone Worker Device Can Trace A Missing Colleague


The lone worker devices are capable of GPS reporting. This means that if your colleague is missing or lost, a nominated staff member, such as a line manager or Health and Safety Manager, can log on to your dedicated client portal and find your missing colleague.

GPS will only work outside, however. Some providers allow you to place Bluetooth beacons in buildings, which also allow you to pinpoint the location of your colleague when they are indoors. This is especially useful in large buildings, including factories and hospitals.

In the scenario in which a colleague is injured and unsure of where they are, their location be accurately determined, allowing help to reach them in a timely manner.  

A Lone Worker Device Can Act As A Deterrent


When a BS8484 compliant device connects with the monitoring station, the operator can speak clearly and loudly to the wearer.

If a member of the public or customer is being aggressive this can often be enough to stop the behaviour and allow the employee to remove themselves to a safer place.

A Lone Worker Device Can Record Altercations


A very useful feature of a lone worker device is that it can record the activity from when the red alarm is activated until it is closed.

This is great if one or your customers or a member of the public disputes your employee’s version of events. You can listen to that recording and confirm what actually happened.

Having a recording of the incident also allows you to submit it as evidence to the police if the incident is serious enough to warrant a prosecution.

What Should I Look For In A Lone Worker Device?


When you are choosing a lone worker device there are some British Standards you should be aware of, mainly BS8484 and BS5979.

BS8484 dictates the functionality of a lone worker device. It covers all of the features that a standard lone worker device should have, such as two-way communication, GPS capability and a Man Down function.

There is a handy BS8484 checklist here that covers all of the main features you should be looking for in your lone worker solution.

BS5979 covers the operation of the alarm receiving centre.  

If you would like to find out more about lone worker devices, Suzy Lamplugh Trust has a handy directory of lone worker providers here.

First2HelpYou recommend approaching a handful, asking for a trial, and seeing which service is best suited to the needs of your staff.

Alicia is an expert in the lone worker field. Having worked in the sector for a decade, she is passionate about providing the right lone worker safety solution for the job role. First2HelpYou pride themselves on their quality service and work with you to keep your lone workers safe.