Lone worker protection is a particular concern to many employers. This is especially relevant to resource extraction industries (mining, energy, forestry) along with trucking, surveying and home health care providers, where employees are at risk of accident or incident when working alone. What do you, as an employer, need to consider when implementing a system for lone worker protection?
You probably understand that as an employer you are likely required, by law or according to health and safety regulations, to implement a lone worker safety policy. Even if accidents or incidents occur outside of your business premises, when they transpire during the execution of your employees duties or, in some cases, during transit to a job site, you are accountable. In many cases, the remote worker is at higher risk and it’s up to you to assess and reduce those risks.
If your business employs workers who are not directly supervised and at risk of accident or injury you are required, by law in some jurisdictions and according to occupational health and safety regulations in others, to have a lone worker policy in place to protect them. It is the employer’s duty to assess risks to lone workers and take steps to avoid or manage the risks. Some companies ignore these obligations and should a worker suffer injury while on duty without lone worker monitoring in place, may face severe consequences.
Lone worker monitoring is the practice of monitoring workers who, due to their working conditions or the nature of their employment, may be out of sight or earshot of co-workers during the course or their workday. If no co-workers are nearby to offer assistance in an emergency, then a lone worker monitoring system should be in place.
Employees that benefit from a lone worker monitoring system include those in resource extraction (energy, mining, and forestry), trucking, environmental assessment, surveying, social work, maintenance, home-based health care providers and even certain retail workers.