Working Alone Safely

Often, employees are found working alone in offices, plants, and on sites. This is due to assignment, time of the task, location, and even the type of task being performed. Working alone should not mean that you are exposed to additional risk but on the contrary, should mean that your work is safer. When working alone, employees must be in tune and on upoint to what is happening around them. The burden of safety is on the lone worker and should trigger a heightened awareness of safety.

When working alone:

  • Let others know your whereabouts through a simple check-in. Provide your location, time of start, and expected time to finish the task.
  • Lone workers should also consider describing the task being performed and then establish a “check back” time. The other person should keep tabs and monitor the status of the lone worker and then perform a checkup if they miss the time or are not able to be contacted.
  • As the lone worker, pay close attention to work procedures, JSA’s / JHA’s / SPA’s to help identify risk and corrective steps. Take the extra time to set up your work to better ensure that an incident will not occur.
  • Ensure that you have the proper training, tools, and resources to perform the required task. This is not a time to cut corners or get into a hurry. Follow the safety requirements.
  • Be sure to check-in and check back at the required times. Check out when the task is completed. Determine what the steps to action are and what should be done if there is a missed opportunity.
  • If permitted, keep your cell phone on and available for calls.
  • Consider one of the lone worker personal systems that monitor you and then automatically alert others to a potential emergency situation. Some lone worker systems will call for help and give your exact location. Use all technology to your advantage.
  • Never attempt to perform work alone that would normally require an extra person. Contact someone else to help and avoid the temptation to tackle it alone.
  • Avoid taking unnecessary risks as this makes you more vulnerable to incidents. Keep your mind focused on the task and your safety.
  • Follow your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, look right, or act right, STOP!

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