Legislation for Lone Working in British Columbia

As Canada is divided into federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions here is the legislation pertaining to lone workers in British Columbia.

Businesses that operate in British Columbia (with the exception of mines and federally chartered workplaces), are legally required to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (OHSR) created by WorkSafeBC.

Under section 4.21 of the British Columbian Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, employers are required to have procedures in place for checking the well-being of employees working alone or in isolation. Communication must be maintained throughout the day with a final check-in completed when the employee safely completes a session of working alone.

Occupational Health and Safety Regulations

Part Four – Working alone or in isolation
Section 4.20.2

(1) Before a worker is assigned to work alone or in isolation, the employer must identify any hazards to that worker.

(2) Before a worker starts a work assignment with a hazard identified under subsection (1), the employer must take measures

(a) to eliminate the hazard, and

(b) if it is not practicable to eliminate the hazard, to minimize the risk from the hazard.

(3) For purposes of subsection (2) (b), the employer must minimize the risk from the hazard to the lowest level practicable using engineering controls, administrative controls or a combination of engineering and administrative controls.

4.21 Procedures for checking well-being of worker

(1) The employer must develop and implement a written procedure for checking the well-being of a worker assigned to work alone or in isolation.

(2) The procedure for checking a worker’s well-being must include the time interval between checks and the procedure to follow in case the worker cannot be contacted, including provisions for emergency rescue.

(3) A person must be designated to establish contact with the worker at predetermined intervals and the results must be recorded by the person.

(4) In addition to checks at regular intervals, a check at the end of the work shift must be done.

(5) The procedure for checking a worker’s well-being, including time intervals between the checks, must be developed in consultation with the joint committee or the worker health and safety representative, as applicable.

(6) Time intervals for checking a worker’s well-being must be developed in consultation with the worker assigned to work alone or in isolation.

[Amended by B.C. Reg. 318/2007, effective February 1, 2008.]

Note: High risk activities require shorter time intervals between checks. The preferred method for checking is visual or two-way voice contact, but where such a system is not practicable, a one-way system which allows the worker to call or signal for help and which will send a call for help if the worker does not reset the device after a predetermined interval is acceptable.

4.22 Training

A worker described in section 4.21(1) and any person assigned to check on the worker must be trained in the written procedure for checking the worker’s well-being.

[Amended by B.C. Reg. 318/2007, effective February 1, 2008.]