In Canada, a person is “alone” at work while they are on their own, and when they can’t be seen or heard by another person. And while working alone isn’t necessarily inherently dangerous, it does pose a unique set of risks that employees in traditional work environments may not face.
In my last blog, I talked about different kinds of lone workers (like construction and emergency services) and what we can do to protect them. But there’s another kind of lone worker out there that’s particularly vulnerable – oil and gas workers. Your team might work in the most remote locations for exploration, at pumping stations or in gas plants. Maybe they’re responsible for the safety of land survey crews, oilfield service groups or operators and contractors. Whatever the situation, there’s the potential for them to come into contact with hazardous gases that could be extremely dangerous to their health and safety.
So How Do We Keep Lone Oil and Gas Workers Safe?
It’s up to the employer to make sure their employees are safe (lone workers or not!) and have access to assistance if it’s needed. In fact, every employer should be performing a risk assessment and job hazard analysis before they even consider dispatching a lone worker.
Employees aren’t absolved of all responsibility, though. Lone workers need to share in the burden and do their best to:
- Take reasonable care to look after their own health and safety
- Safeguard against hazards their work poses to others
- Cooperate with their employer’s health and safety procedures
- Use tools and other equipment properly and in accordance with the training they’ve been provided
- Not misuse any PPE or tools provided to protect their health and safety
- Report all accidents, injuries, dangerous situation, and near misses.
Near-miss reporting is especially important since it potentially changes the risk-assessments originally performed prior to the work starting. The near-miss incident should be incorporated into your planning for ensuring lone worker safety.
Communication is Essential
The best way to minimize risks to your lone workers is to make sure that they have a reliable way to communicate with their employer, coworkers, and especially, first responders. And for any lone worker solution to be truly effective, it needs to be easy-to-use and have the flexibility needed to meet the employee’s ever-changing needs and locations.
Now, I’m going to be completely honest. It can be difficult to track where your workers are located at any given moment throughout the day. You have no real-time data about workers, their equipment, or the hazards they encounter. You don’t even have the ability to respond to safety incidents in real-time, so it could take hours – or days – to understand what happened and who was involved.
So what’s the solution?
Introducing iNet Now
iNet Now live monitoring software provides real-time text and email alerts for gas hazards, panic, and man-down situations, allowing you to see and respond to incidents as they happen. A map helps you to pinpoint the location of your lone workers and their instruments, giving you confidence that workers are visible – even when they’re miles away.