When a person is working alone and cannot be seen or heard by another person, they are considered to be ""alone"" at work. It's crucial to thoroughly analyze each circumstance. All employees who may go without direct contact with a coworker for a time are considered to be working alone. One ""lone"" worker might be the receptionist in a big office complex, for instance. A construction worker may also be regarded as working alone if they are working in a bathroom or another place where their coworkers cannot see them. Other examples are cashiers at convenience stores, restaurant employees, taxi drivers, home care aides, social workers, security personnel, or custodians.
Is it problematic to work alone?
While working alone isn't necessarily dangerous, it can be when other factors are involved. The location, nature of employment, interactions with the public, or the outcomes of an emergency, incident, injury, etc. will determine whether a situation is high risk or low risk. It's critical to evaluate each event on its own given the huge range of conditions.
What will this document cover?
The administrative requirements for lone employees in general will be covered in this OSH Answers publication (check-in procedures and hazard assessment). Please refer to the relevant OSH Answers documents for more on: Off-site Money Management assisting patients Please go to Violence and Harassment in the Workplace for further details on how to establish a program to avoid workplace violence.
What kinds of activities are high risk?
Risks can come from a multitude of sources when engaging in high-risk activities, such as when working: in the air. In small spaces (such as tanks, grain bins or elevators, culverts, etc.). using electricity or other potentially dangerous energy sources. with dangerous goods. with potentially dangerous tools like weapons or chainsaws. Where there is a chance for violence, with the general public.
What can be done to ensure the safety of a lone worker?
Verify the laws in your area. Working alone is subject to unique laws in some jurisdictions. There are numerous actions that can be taken to help protect the lone worker's safety, including: When possible, try to avoid having a lone worker, especially for professions where the danger is known. Analyze the risks at your place of employment. Discuss the work with the employees. Get their opinion on the issues they face and potential solutions. Investigate situations at your place of employment and draw lessons from them. Take corrective action to eliminate or reduce any dangers associated with working alone. Both the lone worker and the person in charge of responding if there are any concerns should receive the proper training and knowledge. Report any instances, accidents, or ""near misses"" where being by yourself made the issue worse. Examine this data, and if modifications to corporate policy are required, make them. Create a check-in process. Ensure that all employees are in regular communication with one another. Establish communication or visual methods for keeping track of folks while they are at work. Plan more dangerous jobs to be completed during regular business hours or while another employee who can assist in an emergency is available.
What does a check-in process look like in practice?
It's crucial to have a check-in process in place. Determine whether a verbal check-in is sufficient or whether a visual check is required to verify the worker's identity. Make sure your strategy is suitable for both normal business hours and after usual office hours. The telephone will typically serve as the primary point of communication for lone employees. Whenever utilizing a cell phone, be sure it is charged and nearby. Make sure you have backup communication options in case cell phone service is problematic in your location (such as the usage of cameras, automatic warning/duress systems, GPS, two-way radio, site visits, or satellite technology). The primary contact should be aware of the following information upon leaving the office: Destination. Arrival time prediction. Time or date of return. contact details. Travel method (public transit, car, plane, etc.). In case of inclement weather, traffic issues, etc., alternate plans. An illustration of a check-in process is: Make a daily work schedule so that everyone knows where and when the lone worker will be. Choose one primary contact in the company, along with a backup. Define the conditions and frequency of the lone worker's check-ins. Follow the call-in or visual check schedule. You might want to keep a written record of your contacts. Ask the contact person to check in on the lone worker from time to time by phone or in person. Choose a code word that will be used to signal or confirm the need for assistance. Create an emergency plan that will be implemented if the lone worker fails to check in as required. The point of contact needs to be aware of when and how to implement the emergency plan. (Adapted from the CCOHS Guide to Preventing Violence in the Workplace)
What should one take into account when evaluating a situation or the workplace?
Here are some things to think about. Since every situation will be unique, make sure to modify the questions to fit your needs. Duration of the individual's lone work: How much time alone is appropriate for the individual? Is the person's solitude even reasonable? How long will the individual be left alone to complete the task? Is it legal for the person to be alone while doing certain activities? (For example: some jurisdictions may restrict working alone in a confined space, or during lock-out / tag-out operations). What time of the day will the person be alone? Communication:What forms of communication are available? Is it necessary to """"see"""" the person, or is voice communication adequate? Will emergency communication systems work properly in all situations? If the communication systems are located in a vehicle, do you need alternative arrangements to cover the person when they are away from the vehicle? Location of the work: Is the work in a remote or isolated location? (Remember that a remote location does not have to be far away. Storage rooms that are rarely used can be considered remote or isolated.) Is transportation necessary to get there? What kind of transportation is needed? Is the area or vehicle equipped with emergency supplies such as food and drinking water, as well as a first aid kit? Will the person need to carry some or all of the emergency supplies with them when they leave the vehicle? Does the person need training to be able to use the first aid equipment? What are the consequences if the vehicle breaks down? Will the person have to leave the vehicle for long periods of time? Type or nature of work: Is there adequate education and training provided for the person to be able to work alone safely? Is there adequate education and training provided for the person who is responding? Is there adequate personal protective equipment available, if needed? Is it in good working order? What machinery, tools or equipment will be used? Is there a high risk activity involved? Is fatigue likely to be a factor? Are there extremes of temperature? Is there risk of an animal attack, insect bite (poisonous, or allergic reaction), etc.? If the person is working inside a locked building, how will emergency services be able to get in? (For example: a night cleaner in a secure office building) Does the work involve working with money or other valuables? Does the work involve seizing property or goods (such as repossession, recovering stolen property, etc)? Characteristics required by the individual who is working alone Are there any pre-existing medical conditions that may increase the risk? Does the person have adequate levels of experience and training? (For example: first aid, communication systems repair, vehicle breakdowns, relevant administrative procedures, and/or outdoor survival?) (questions adapted from: Government of Western Australia, 2009 """"Guidance Note: Working Alone"""")"""