AROUND THE PROVINCES: General Working Alone Requirements

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Most workers work with other workers. But some workers work by alone or in isolation. For example, some may work onsite but at odd hours, such as retail staff working the late shift, security guards or cleaning staff. Others may work offsite or in remote locations, such as salesmen, repairmen, delivery personnel or workers at forestry operations. When alone, workers may be more vulnerable to certain hazards, such as violence, or unable to get help if they get injured or sick. As a result, the OHS laws often impose special requirements for the protection of workers when working alone. Here’s a look at the general working alone requirements in each jurisdiction’s OHS law. (Note: This chart doesn’t include requirements that apply only to certain kinds of workplaces or work, such as late night retail workplaces).

 

KNOW THE LAWS: General Working Alone Requirements

FED OHS laws don’t have specific working alone requirements.
AB OHS Code 2009:

1. Working alone is considered a hazard for the purposes of Part 2 (Hazard Assessment, Elimination and Control) [Sec. 393(2)].

2. An employer must, for any worker working alone, provide an effective communication system consisting of:

a. radio communication;

b. landline or cellular telephone communication; or

c. some other effective means of electronic communication that includes regular contact by the employer or designate at intervals appropriate to the nature of the hazard associated with the worker’s work [Sec. 394(1)].

3. Despite the above, if effective electronic communication isn’t practicable at the work site, the employer must ensure that:

a. the employer or designate visits the worker; or

b. the worker contacts the employer or designate at intervals appropriate to the nature of the hazard associated with the worker’s work [Sec. 394(1.1)].

BC OHS Regs.:

1. Before a worker is assigned to work alone or in isolation, the employer must identify any hazards to that worker [Sec. 4.20.2(1)].

2. Before a worker starts a work assignment with a hazard identified under the above, the employer must take measures:

a. to eliminate the hazard; and

b. if it isn’t practicable to eliminate the hazard, to minimize the risk from the hazard [Sec. 4.20.2(2)].

3. For purposes of the above, the employer must minimize the risk from the hazard to the lowest level practicable using engineering controls, administrative controls or a combination of engineering and administrative controls [Sec. 4.20.2(3)].

4. The employer must develop and implement a written procedure for checking the well-being of a worker assigned to work alone or in isolation [Sec. 4.21(1)].

5. The procedure for checking a worker’s well-being must include the time interval between checks and the procedure to follow in case the worker cannot be contacted, including provisions for emergency rescue [Sec. 4.21(2)].

6. A person must be designated to establish contact with the worker at predetermined intervals and the results must be recorded by the person [Sec. 4.21(3)].

7. In addition to checks at regular intervals, a check at the end of the work shift must be done [Sec. 4.21(4)].

8. The procedure for checking a worker’s well-being, including time intervals between the checks, must be developed in consultation with the JHSC or worker health and safety representative, as applicable [Sec. 4.21(5)].

9. Time intervals for checking a worker’s well-being must be developed in consultation with the worker assigned to work alone or in isolation [Sec. 4.21(6)].

10. A worker working alone or in isolation and any person assigned to check on the worker must be trained in the written procedure for checking the worker’s well-being [Sec. 4.22].

11. The procedures referred to in Secs. 4.21 and 4.22.1(2)(a) and, if a violence prevention program is implemented, the procedures, policies and work environment arrangements referred to in section 4.22.1 (2.1), must be reviewed at least annually, or more frequently if there’s:

a. a change in work environment arrangements that could adversely affect:

i. the effectiveness of the violence prevention program, or

ii. a worker’s well-being or safety; or

b. a report that the procedures, policies or work environment arrangements, as applicable, aren’t working effectively [Sec. 4.23].

MB Workplace Safety & Health Reg.:

1. An employer must ensure a personal first aid kit that meets the requirements set out in Schedule B to this Part is provided to a worker who works alone and who doesn’t have ready access to a first aid kit required to be provided under Sec. 5.12(1) [Sec. 5.13].

2. When a worker works alone or works in isolation, an employer must identify the risks arising from the conditions and circumstances of the worker’s work in consultation with:

a. the JHSC;

b. the representative at the workplace; or

c. when there’s no JHSC or representative, the workers at the workplace [Sec. 9.2(1)].

3. An employer must, so far as is reasonably practicable, take steps to eliminate or reduce the identified risks to workers working alone or working in isolation [Sec. 9.2(2)].

4. An employer must:

a. develop and implement safe work procedures to eliminate or reduce the identified risks to workers working alone or working in isolation;

b. train workers in the safe work procedures; and

c. ensure that workers comply with the safe work procedures [Sec. 9.3(1)].
5. The safe work procedures must include:

a. the establishment of an effective communication system that consists of:

i. radio communication,

ii. telephone or cellular phone communication, or

iii. any other means that provides effective communication given the risks involved;

b. any of the following:

i. a system of regular contact by the employer with the worker working alone or in isolation,

ii. limitations on or prohibitions of specified activities,

iii. the establishment of training requirements; and

c. where applicable, the provision of emergency supplies for use in travelling or working under conditions of extreme cold or other inclement weather conditions [Sec. 9.3(2)].

6. An employer must post a copy of the safe work procedures in a conspicuous place at the workplace [Sec. 9.3(3)].

7. An employer must review and revise the procedures not less than every three years or sooner if circumstances at a workplace change in a way that poses a risk to the safety or health of a worker working alone or in isolation [Sec. 9.3(4)].

NB Code of Practice for Working Alone Reg.:
An employer must establish a code of practice to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of an employee who works alone at any time at a place of employment from risks arising out of, or in connection with, the work assigned [Sec. 2].
NL OHS Regs. 2012:
1. An employer must conduct a risk assessment where a worker is assigned to work alone or in isolation [Sec. 15(2)].

2. Where a risk assessment required under the above identifies a hazard, appropriate controls must be implemented to eliminate, or where elimination isn’t practicable, minimize the risk associated with the hazard [Sec. 15(3)].

3. An employer must develop and implement a written procedure for checking the well-being of a worker assigned to work alone or in isolation [Sec. 15(4)].

4. A procedure referred to above must include the time interval between checks and the procedure to follow in case the worker can’t be contacted, including provisions for emergency response [Sec. 15(5)].

5. A person must be designated to establish contact with the worker at predetermined intervals and the results must be recorded by the person [Sec. 15(6)].

6. A procedure referred to above must be developed in consultation with the worker assigned to work alone or in isolation, the JHSC, the worker health and safety representative or designate, whichever applies [Sec. 15(7)].

7. A procedure referred to above must be reviewed at least annually, or more frequently if there’s:

a. a change in work arrangements that may adversely affect a worker’s well-being or safety; or

b. a report that procedures aren’t working effectively [Sec. 15(8)].

NS OHS General Reg.:
If a person working alone is exposed to the risk of drowning and isn’t visible to or within hearing distance of another person who’s in a position to immediately come to their aid, an employer must ensure the life jacket or personal flotation device selected, provided and used by the person is designed to provide buoyancy without any effort by the user and to rotate an unconscious person to an upward facing position in the water [Sec. 14(2)].
NT OHS Regs.:
1. If a worker is required or permitted to work alone or at an isolated work site, an employer, in consultation with the JHSC or representative or, if no JHSC or representative is available, the worker and other workers, must identify the hazards arising from the conditions and circumstances of that work [Sec. 33(2)].

2. An employer must take reasonable measures to eliminate or reduce the risks posed by the hazards identified above, including the establishment of an effective communication system that consists of:

a. radio communication;

b. phone or cellular phone communication; or

c. any other means that provides effective communication considering the risks involved [Sec. 33(3)].

NU General Safety Reg.:
When a worker is working alone, the employer must provide a means of checking the well-being of that worker at intervals that, under the circumstances, provide adequate protection [Sec. 14].  *Note: The above reflects the current law at the time of publication. The new OHS regulations that took effect in NWT on June 1, 2015 are expected to take effect later in 2015 in NU.
ON OHS laws don’t have specific working alone requirements.
PE OHS Regs.:
1. When a worker is working alone at a workplace as required by the employer, the employer must, if it’s reasonable to do so or if required to do so by an officer, ensure that the worker holds a valid Emergency First Aid Certificate [Sec. 9.7(1)].

2. When a worker is working alone, the employer must develop and implement written procedures to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of the worker from risks arising out of, or in connection with, the work assigned [Sec. 53.2(1)].

3. The above written procedures must include the following information:

a. the name, address, location and telephone number of the workplace;

b. the name, address, location and telephone number of the employer;

c. the nature of the business conducted at the workplace;

d. identification of the possible risks to each worker working alone that arise from or in connection with the work assigned;

e. the steps to be followed to minimize the risks identified;

f. details of the means by which a worker who is working alone can secure, and the employer can provide, assistance in the event of injury or other circumstances that may endanger the health or safety of the worker [Sec. 53.2(2)].

4. The steps referred to above must:

a. specify the time intervals for checking on the worker;

b. specify the person responsible for contacting the worker and recording the results of the contact;

c. outline the process to be followed if the worker can’t be contacted, including provisions for an emergency rescue; and

d. provide for checking with the worker at the end of the worker’s shift [Sec. 53.2(3)].

5. The employer and the worker who is working alone must comply with the procedures developed under Sec. 53.2 [Sec. 53.3].

6. The employer must implement a training program for the procedures established under Sec. 53.2 for each worker who is working alone and for each supervisor who is responsible for a worker working alone [Sec. 53.4].

7. The employer must ensure that a copy of the procedures established under Sec. 53.2 is available to an officer on request [Sec. 53.5].

QC Reg. respecting occupational health and safety:

When a worker performs a task alone in an isolated environment where it’s impossible for him to request assistance, an efficient means of surveillance, whether continuous or intermittent, must be installed [Sec. 322].

SK OHS Regs:

1. Where a worker is required to work alone or at an isolated place of employment, an employer or contractor, in consultation with the JHSC, the representative or, where there’s no JHSC or representative, the workers, must identify the risks arising from the conditions and circumstances of the worker’s work or the isolation of the place of employment [Sec. 35(2)].

2. An employer or contractor must take all reasonably practicable steps to eliminate or reduce the risks identified [Sec. 35(3)].

3. The steps to be taken to eliminate or reduce the risks pursuant to the above:

a. must include the establishment of an effective communication system that consists of:

i. radio communication;

ii. phone or cellular phone communication; or

iii. any other means that provides effective communication in view of the risks involved; and

b. may include any of the following:

i. regular contact by the employer or contractor with the worker working alone or at an isolated place of employment;

ii. limitations on, or prohibitions of, specified activities;

iii. establishment of minimum training or experience, or other standards of competency;

iv. provision of PPE;

v. establishment of safe work practices or procedures; or

vi. provision of emergency supplies for use in travelling under conditions of extreme cold or other inclement weather conditions [Sec. 35(4)].

YT OHS laws don’t have specific working alone requirements.