In companies across all industries, certain workers will be required to work alone. The lack of supervision or support poses risks to both the employee and the employer, beyond those related to the nature of the work. Both the BC and federal government have addressed these risks though labour codes and occupational health and safety regulations. Below is what you should know as an employer.
Although Canada's Labour Code does not specifically address requirements for employees working alone, Section 124 imposes a general duty on employers to protect the health and safety of every person they employ while at work. Furthermore, Canada's Occupational Health and Safety Regulations prohibit employees working alone in some situations:
- Certain types of electrical work that require a safety watcher or first-aid representative
- In confined spaces under specified hazardous conditions
- Where there is a possibility for drowning
- Repairs and maintenance work on machines that cannot be reasonably locked out
- Operation of materials-handling equipment with an obstructed view
In BC, working alone refers to circumstances where assistance would not be readily available to the worker in case of emergency or if the worker is injured or gets sick.
As the employer, the BC Occupational Health and Safety Code requires you to:
- Conduct a hazard assessment to identify existing or potential safety hazards in the workplace associated with working alone
- Implement safety measures to eliminate or control identified hazards
- Develop written procedures for checking on lone workers
- Train lone workers on check-in procedures
- Conduct reviews of lone worker policies and procedures
Late night retail workplaces are subject to additional requirements.
For more information and resources on reducing your risks as an employer, contact a CapriCMW Risk Advisor.