Most Alberta employers have employees who need to work alone. Given the public’s concern for the safety of employees who work alone, in 2000 the Alberta government created the Working Alone Regulation based on the recommendations of a task force comprised of industry, labour and governmental representatives. The Regulation came into effect on October 4, 2000. Since that time, the requirements for working alone have been consolidated into the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Code. They appear in Part 28 of the OHS Code.
Employers have responsibilities for minimizing and eliminating risks associated with employees working alone. Employers are also required to ensure employees working alone have some effective way of communicating with individuals who can respond immediately if there is an emergency or the worker is injured or ill.
Employees who work alone can be grouped into five broad categories:
(1) Employees who handle cash. This includes convenience store clerks, retail and food outlet employees, and taxi drivers.
(2) Employees who travel away from a base office to meet clients. This includes home care employees, social services employees and bylaw enforcement officers.
(3) Employees who do hazardous work but have no routine interaction with customers or the public. This includes employees in the logging, oil and gas industries.
(4) Employees who travel alone but have no routine interaction with customers or the public. This includes truck drivers and business people in transit.
(5) Employees who are at risk of a violent attack because their work site is isolated from public view. This includes security guards and custodians.
Each of these situations has different hazards and ways to control them.
Some best practices are common to all working alone situations. These include proper employee training and having an effective communications system so that employees who are working alone can easily contact someone in case of an emergency. These measures are effective in reducing the risk associated with working alone. It may be possible to eliminate any hazards of working alone by rearranging work schedules. For example, two loggers who are working in isolated areas could be assigned to the same cutting area so that neither is required to work alone.
No province in Canada prohibits working alone. Jurisdictions that have specific provisions regulating working alone include Alberta, British Columbia (B.C), Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Northwest Territories/Nunavut. All use a regulatory approach very similar to the one adopted in Alberta. Each of these jurisdictions requires employers to conduct a hazard assessment and to develop controls to reduce the risks associated with the identified hazards.
Our online Work Alone Awareness course equips you with the information needed to understand laws concerning working alone. It teaches you how to recognize unclear and changing work alone situations and outlines practical ways to maximize your safety while working alone. Compliance requirements and employer obligations to employees are also presented. This course is suited to individuals and their supervisors working in industrial settings, such as the energy, forestry, mining, construction, and utility sectors.
Provincial and territorial legislation
Recognizing dynamic and static work alone environments
Strategies to maximize your work alone safety on the job
Working with your employer on work alone safety and assisting with compliance
Jump over to our website to register, and remember, use Promo Code ONTRACK10 to receive 10% off at the checkout.