GPS Vehicle tracking isn’t enough when you have personnel in the field on their own. While it’s comforting to know where your employees are, how do you know they are all right? First, let’s look at what situations define the lone worker.
What is meant by working alone?
According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety a person is “alone” at work when they are on their own; when they cannot be seen or heard by another person. While it is not always hazardous to work alone, it can be when other circumstances are present. Whether a situation is a high or low risk will depend on the location, type of work, interaction with the public, or the consequences of an emergency, accident, injury, etc. This wide variety of circumstances makes it important to assess each situation individually.
It is important to consider all situations carefully. Working alone includes all employees who may go for a period of time where they do not have direct contact with a co-worker. For example, the receptionist in a large office building may be considered a “lone” worker. Alternatively, a construction worker who is doing work in a bathroom or other location that cannot be seen by co-workers may also be considered a lone worker. Other examples are gas station attendants, convenience store clerks, food outlet employees, taxi drivers, home care employees, social service workers, security guards or custodians.
Lone Worker Monitoring
An employee may be at risk when working without close supervision and with no visual or audible contact with another worker who can provide or call for assistance in the event of an emergency, injury or illness. Even when working with the public, a worker is still classified as a lone worker because the public may lack information or may not be able to assist. So, what can you do to enhance the safety of those who are working alone? If employees work alone, perhaps not even remotely, you may want to engage a safety partner that they could utilize for periodic or planned check-ins. Also having a shared calendar that records their whereabouts and allows for check-ins may be suitable for their situation.
While safety is the priority, there are also other risks to consider. Financial losses that may be incurred as a result of worker injury. These may include re-training costs, re-hiring, rehabilitation, and other benefit and health care costs associated with workplace injuries. Be sure that you have specific and appropriate policies and procedures in place and communicate them to your employees. If there ever was an accident, as an employer, your liability may be reduced if you can provide evidence of the same. Of course, this assumes that those policies and procedures meet the standard of care required.
When your employees are miles from anywhere and something happens to them how will someone know help is required? Our Terratrax GPS Lone Worker Solutions help you provide the best possible emergency response to remote workplace incidents—and can make the difference between short-term recovery, permanent disability and even fatalities.