Employees who work where they cannot be seen or heard by other staff members are considered lone workers. It has nothing to do with the type of work or the likelihood of accidents.
Lone workers are at risk simply due to the fact that they work alone. When an employee works alone, even jobs usually considered safe and low-risk can turn into dangerous situations. For example, if no one is around to help if something goes wrong, it doesn’t matter how safe a job is perceived to be.
When things go wrong, lone workers are at a higher risk of serious injury or worse. That’s why lone worker monitoring systems are so important (and required by law in most provinces).
What are the risks?
- Slips, trips, and falls are common causes of workplace injuries. And they can affect anyone regardless of industry. Obviously, heights and ladders are especially risky for lone workers. However, don’t underestimate the damage that a bad slip or trip can do. Lone workers can injure themselves if they slip on ice or trip over a hazard.
- Heavy machinery use also poses a significant risk to lone workers. Unfortunately, machine entanglement is one of the most prevalent workplace injuries. When an employee works alone, the resulting incident can be catastrophic if there is no one to turn off the machinery or intervene.
- Vehicle accidents are common as many lone workers must drive as part of their job. Consequently, employers must consider the safety of employees during work-related travel.
- Chemicals and electricity can be extremely hazardous to human health. If a lone worker loses consciousness due to flume inhalation, there is no one to call for help. Electrocution poses a similar risk.
- Cuts, lacerations, and concussions can happen at any workplace if a lone worker touches a hazardous object.
- Lifting heavy objects can also result in injuries for lone workers. Since lone workers handle heavy objects without assistance, they are at a greater risk for injury.
- Medical emergencies can happen at any time. For example, an employee may experience a heart attack, stroke, or severe allergic reaction while working alone. These medical emergencies can be more severe when no one can help.
Which jobs pose the highest risk?
Although any job where employees work alone has its risks, here are some industries that are especially risky for lone workers:
- Oil and gas
Keep lone workers safe with CommAlert
CommAlert provides lone worker monitoring solutions to keep your employees safe at work. Connect with us to learn more about our cost-effective and customizable lone worker monitoring services.