In the UK there are currently hundreds of lone workers working in explosive environments. As well as being surrounded by potential hazards such as gas/fume leaks, explosions, electrical hazards, and trip and slip hazards, these personnel are often working at unsocial hours. Protection for lone workers working within such environments is of paramount importance, but is often overlooked.

Legislation does not prohibit lone working in a general sense, but companies and organisations must conduct a risk assessment covering the activities of all employees, including lone workers. Since the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act of 2007, companies and organisations can be found guilty of corporate manslaughter as a result of serious management failures resulting in a gross breach of duty of care. 


There are strict European rules and regulations specifically concerning potentially explosive atmospheres (Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Directive 2014/34/EU). Under these rules, all lone worker alarm systems must be ATEX/Ex certified to the correct Protection Zone, Apparatus Group and Temperature class for each individual ATEX/Ex environment. If a product / piece of equipment has official ATEX certification, it has been fully tested and approved to be safe to use in hazardous / explosive atmospheres. ATEX approved equipment must show the official ‘Ex’ logo.

SBES, the lone worker protection specialist, has developed a simple yet highly specified site-based lone worker alarm system specifically for use within explosive environments.

The SBES ATEX LifeSaver lone worker alarm units are Ex II 1 G, EEx ia IIC T4 Certified. SBES’ Lifesaver system alerts colleagues in the event of a ‘man down’ incident in which a lone worker has collapsed or is rendered unconscious, ensuring an immediate response in the vital few minutes following an incident.

The alarm can be raised manually by means of a panic button, or automatically by a tilt sensor (with programmed delay and pre-alarm warning) should the lone worker become incapacitated. Upon alarm activation, the SBES LifeSaver Control System will automatically dial up to 10 pre-programmed telephone numbers, alerting the recipients that the lone worker alarm has been activated and the lone worker may need help.

The SBES LifeSaver Control System can be linked into third-party access control systems in order to release entry doors automatically, ensuring quick access for emergency response teams. The SBES Lifesaver System can also be integrated into existing building management systems to help with remote monitoring of lone workers.

SBES LifeSaver ATEX systems are currently operational around the world and across a wide range of industries. From tankers fleets based in the Philippines to a European Aeronautic Defence and Space company using the systems within their spray booths at their manufacturing site in the UK. A cosmetics company has recently upgraded their SBES LifeSaver ATEX system for 2020 version, overseen by SBES’s dedicated project management which ensured that the installation procedure complied with Covid-19 guidelines in these challenging times.

Peter Swan, Managing Director of SBES, said: “Although employers are well aware of their duty of care, personnel working in isolated areas are often forgotten about. Lone working is apparent in virtually every organisation, and I would call upon all employers to protect them properly”.

All SBES Lone worker alarm systems are modular and can be ‘tailor made’ to specific requirements.

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