Just because an employee isn’t working alone at an isolated site doesn’t mean that they’re not a “lone worker”. In fact, they could be surrounded by people and still be technically working alone.

Across all industries, many employees face lone working situations. While you may automatically think of a field worker at a remote location to be at a higher risk, the truth is that jobs from all sectors can involve lone work.

As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of all of your workers. If the proper procedures are not taken and a worker is injured while under your supervision, you and your company can be found criminally liable under Canadian Law. This can lead to lawsuits, increased insurance rates and hefty damages owed.

While it’s essential to assume responsibility for all of your workers, lone worker situations can be especially risky and warrant extra caution.

Who is considered to be a lone worker?

  • Workers who travel
  • Workers who handle cash
  • Workers who perform tasks at isolated sites
  • Workers who have little to no contact with their supervisor or colleagues, even if they are surrounded by the general public

What are the most common industries for lone workers?

  • Oil and gas
  • Forestry
  • Retail
  • Mining
  • Transportation
  • Construction

Which jobs are considered to be high-risk?

  • Working at heights
  • Working with electricity
  • Working in confined spaces
  • Working with hazardous materials
  • Working with the public

What are the associated risks?

  • Increased danger
  • Injuries
  • Robbery

Employer responsibilities

  • Understand and follow provincial legislation
  • Identify and communicate the hazards workers may encounter
  • Establish safety protocol
  • Educate and train employees on emergency procedures

There are a number of resources that can help protect your lone workers. iNet Now, for example, is a great tool to use for real-time maps of where your workers are located, along with alerts for gas hazards, panic and man-down situations.

Above all, proper training is the best way to ensure a safe work space. 

Looking for more information? Be sure to check out our online course, Work Alone Awareness. This course teaches you how to recognize unclear and changing lone work situations and outlines practical ways to maximize safety while working alone. Compliance requirements and your obligations as an employer are also included. This course is suited both for workers and supervisors working in industrial settings such as the energy, forestry, mining, construction and utility sectors.

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Michael Douglas

National Manager, Marketing Segments

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