Oct 23, 2007
The Workplace Safety and Health Regulation 217/2006 defines “Working Alone” as any worker who performs a job in the absence of their employer, another person in a supervisory capacity (designated by the same employer), or another worker at a workplace during the same time period the working alone job function is being performed.
This is different from “Working in Isolation”, which refers to work performed at a site that is remote from other workers (depending on the layout of the facility) and in circumstances where assistance is not readily available.
However, in both situations, the employer must identify the risks arising from the conditions and circumstances of the work, in consultation with the Safety and Health committee or representative in the workplace. If there is no committee or representative, the Employer must consult with workers and take steps to reduce the risk(s). This should include putting control methods / safe work procedures in writing and implementing them through appropriate employee training.
These procedures should include an effective communication system that consists of a radio, telephone, cellular phone, or any other means that provides regular contact by the employer with the worker.
- second person or Buddy System;
- personal check by another person;
- periodic telephone contact;
- constant or intermittent mechanical or electrical surveillance; or
- central monitoring.
Employers must also provide a personal first aid kit as well as emergency supplies for use in traveling or working under conditions of extreme cold or other inclement weather conditions.
While employers are responsible for demonstrating that they have considered and addressed the hazards and risks for employees working alone, it's equally important that employees follow these safety procedures and make sure their coworkers are doing so as well.