Tom Musick, Safety and Health Magazine – On the job site, employees look out for each other. They monitor each other’s risk and safety. However, when an employee is working alone, no one is there to support them and they have to look out for themselves. Despite the lack of personal support, the company still has the responsibility to protect its workers, regardless of their work environment.
Organizations of all sizes can promote lone worker safety by developing policies, communicating with workers, and using available technology to track worker location and movement.
Monitoring the safety of a lone worker can pose a challenge. Often this employee is working nights or traveling from location to location. Lisa Pogue, of the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, is a safety and health technical specialist. In “Working Alone Safely: Controlling the Risks of Solitary Work” she outlines several recommended procedures to ensure lone worker safety:
- Conduct risk assessments to determine if work may be done safely by lone workers.
- Train lone workers on emergency response.
- Establish a clear action plan in the event of an emergency.
- Set limits for what is permissible during lone work.
- Require supervisors to make periodic visits to observe lone workers.
- Ensure regular contact between lone workers and supervisors via phone or radio.
- Use automatic warning devices that alert others if signals are not received periodically from a lone worker.
- Verify that lone workers have returned to fixed base or home after completing a task.
When working alone, you tend to cut more corners and take more risks, since you lack the pressure and over site of your fellow employees. It is the duty of the employer to help support each and every one of their employees, even if they are out of site. By following these steps, you can help protect your solitary workers.
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