Can working alone be hazardous?

30 June 2019

Can working alone be hazardous?

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Do you know your rights as an employee and responsibilities as an employer?

A worker can be isolated from other persons by the time, location or nature of the work. ‘Isolated’ usually refers to a person who is alone in any place as part of their work.

Its not against the law to work alone, but legislation contains general duties and responsibilities placed upon employers and workers to ensure their safety at work.

What do Employers need to do?

Employers should identify the hazards facing workers working alone, assess the risks and implement appropriate controls. Employers should also provide adequate information, instruction and training for people who work alone. Some questions which should be considered include:

·      Does the worker understand what is meant by 'isolated worker'?

·      Has the employer considered the competencies and characteristics of the person who is to work alone?

·      Is there a means of communication available which will enable the worker to call for help in the event of an emergency?

·      Is there a procedure for regular contact to be made with the worker?

·      Is the worker trained in the procedure for regular contact with the employer?

·      Does the employer possess a copy of the guidance note for working alone and the checklist Isolated employees - Commercial vehicle drivers?

·      Generally, what are the responsibilities of workers who work alone?

What are Workers required to do?

Workers who work alone should take reasonable care to ensure their own safety and health at work. This includes complying with safety and health instructions and complying with procedures implemented by the employer.

What else can be done?

An employer should ensure that workers are following safe work procedures and working in a manner consistent with the instruction and training provided. Adequate supervision should ensure workers take reasonable care of their own safety and health, especially if the work is carried out in a remote area.

For more information about Working Alone, contact Veritas RSW.