Working Alone with no one to monitor your work, tell you what you are doing wrong or constantly asking you questions, sounds like the Perfect Job. Working Alone really means that you are further away from help and first aid if anything happens. These Incidents can be Tragic for the Worker, their Family and the Company.
Although Provincial Regulations vary, there are a few common principals that apply. Every Employer must conduct a hazard assessment, they must take all reasonable measures to eliminate or minimize the hazard and provide an effective communications system for the specific Lone Worker situation.
Lone Worker Environments
Those who work alone can be grouped into five categories:
- Workers handling cash. Store Clerks, Retail and Food Outlets and Taxi Drivers.
- Workers who travel away from their Base Operations to meet Clients. Home Care Workers, Social Services and Enforcement Officers.
- Workers who do hazardous work but have no frequent interaction with the Public. Logging, Oil and Gas Industries.
- Workers who travel alone and have no regular interaction with Customers or the General Public. Truck Drivers, Business People traveling to various locations/
- Workers who are at risk of encountering violence because their work location is isolated from the Public. Security Guards and Janitorial Custodians.
The key to meeting and surpassing the Working Alone Regulations is to provide a source of Communication for someone to be either in contact with the person or being able to locate the person working alone.
Although there are many methods and types of Communications Equipment that can assist a Company with staying in contact with their Employees working alone, a few of the more common methods include:
- Two-way Radios
- Two-way Radios with built-in GPS
- Vehicle and Personal GPS Systems
- Cellular Phone Apps
- For the very remote locations Satellite Phones and GPS
We will always encounter environments and locations that will challenge the existing equipment and methods of staying in touch with Lone Workers. Methods and Solutions are constantly changing and the equipment is always evolving. Communications Providers are always working on the next Solution and for the Companies needing these Solutions the question, they must answer if what Solution best fits their wants and needs. A recommendation to these Companies is to explore the options and don’t settle on the first Solution.
Working Alone is only done when it is necessary. Working alone isn’t as easy as it sounds, there are many Rules and Requirements that the Province has set out to ensure the safety of Alberta’s Lone Workers. To check on the requirements needed for your Industry, go to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.
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Contributed by Wade Miller