These employees face special risks, and employers must do what they can to ensure their safety.
According to OSHA regulations, an employer must visually or verbally account for lone workers during each work shift, at regular intervals appropriate to the job assignment. While this requirement is open to interpretation, one basic question can help guide what level of monitoring is appropriate: Based on the risks associated with this job, what is an acceptable amount of time for a worker to wait for help?
A three-pronged approach to isolated worker safety might also help:
- Identify the hazards.
- Evaluate the level of the risks involved.
- Put measures in place to avoid or control the risks.
Education and experience are probably the most effective ways to ensure the safety of isolated workers. Employers should provide proper training so lone workers will more likely be able to avoid dangerous situations or know how to respond to challenges or emergencies that arise.