Originally published 08/23/2017
Some construction jobs require an employee to work in an isolated environment for a period of time. Doing a job alone can be more hazardous than doing the same job in the company of others. If you’re injured, ill or trapped, there’s no one nearby to help or call for assistance. It’s a good idea to assess the situation and see if it’s possible to reschedule the job, so others can be present or close by. This is especially true if the project requires an employee to work at heights, operate hazardous equipment or materials, enter confined spaces or enter areas with insufficient lighting.
Supervisors should also:
- Assess whether the worker might be more vulnerable than others. Consider age, disabilities and medical suitability of the individual.
- Assess the worker’s levels of training and experience.
- Make sure they know where their lone workers will be and have a system in place to touch base with and monitor them.
If you are working alone, consider these safety tips:
- Talk to your supervisor and colleagues about your job, the hazards and how to minimize risks.
- Ensure that others on your crew know where you will be working and when.
- Have a check-in system in place. This could include:
- Prearranged intervals of regular phone contact. Be sure your mobile phone is fully charged, or you have another communications tool in the event there’s no phone coverage.
- Periodic visits to the site by a coworker or supervisor, so they can visually check on you.
- Use of a “man down” or personal monitoring device that recognizes when a worker has stopped moving.
- Arranging to call someone at the end of your shift to let them know you are OK.
- Have a first aid kit, and know how to use it.
- Keep a fire extinguisher on-site at all times, and know how to use it.
Establish an emergency plan in case an accident occurs, and make sure everyone on the site understands it and knows what their responsibilities are. Consider publishing these helpful tips in your company’s health and safety policy statement.