Working Alone

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The work done when you are working alone may not always be hazardous, but the circumstances of being alone can be. Working alone or in isolation means that assistance is not readily available in an emergency, or if you become injured or ill. A person may be alone if they are not seen by others or if they do not have regular contact with other workers. Common examples include a receptionist in a large office building, a construction worker working in a small room by themselves, taxi drivers, home care workers, social services workers, security guards, and custodians.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers must:

  • Conduct a risk assessment when they have workers that work alone or in isolation.
  • When a hazard is identified in the risk assessment, take steps to eliminate or reduce the risks associated with the hazard. Depending on the hazard identified, some examples of possible controls methods include:
    • Assign two workers whenever possible, especially for tasks that have a high risk of injury;
    • Establish procedures to reduce the risk of violence, such as only having a small amount of cash on site, using credit or debit payment systems only, locking up drugs and medicine, keeping windows clear, etc.;
    • Provide good lighting to the work area;
    • Provide the area or vehicle with emergency supplies (e.g., first aid kit, food, water, backup communication device, outdoor survival gear);
    • Use additional methods to check on the worker, such as cameras, GPS (global positioning system) and motion-sensing devices;
    • Provide persons working alone with ready access to a reliable means of communication; and
    • Provide training for emergency situations that may happen, such as vehicle repairs.
  • Develop and follow written procedures for checking the well-being of the lone worker. Include checkin times and steps to take if the worker cannot be contacted. The frequency of check should be appropriate to the risks as identified by the risk assessment.
  • Have a designated person make contact with the lone worker at set times, and record the result.
  • Have checkin procedures for the designate to follow. Ensure the designate checks in with the lone worker if they do not check in on time.
  • Develop the procedure in consultation with the lone worker, and the Occupational Health and Safety Committee, Worker Health and Safety Representative or Designate.
  • Review the procedure at least once a year, or more often if there is a change in the work arrangements, or if the procedures are not effective.
  • Make sure that the worker holds a valid emergency first aid certificate, if reasonable to do so, or if required by an OHS officer.

Worker Responsibilities

Workers must:

  • Take reasonable care to protect his or her health and safety and that of workers and persons at or near the workplace.
  • Properly wear or use personal protective equipment (PPE), safeguards and safety and devices provided for their protection in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and training provided by the employer.
  • Follow safe work practices and procedures.
  • Participate in training and hazard assessments, if provided.
  • Not use equipment or perform work tasks where the required training has not yet taken place.
  • Immediately report concerns and hazards to the supervisor or employer.

Related topics

Risk assessment

A risk assessment is a thorough check of the work environment and task before work begins.
The purpose is to identify potential hazards and appropriate safety measures to be used to eliminate or reduce the hazards.

Violence

Violence means the attempted or actual exercise by a person, other than a worker, of physical force to cause injury to a worker, and includes threatening statements or behaviour which gives a worker reason to believe that he or she is at a risk of injury.

Occupational Health and Safety Committee

Where 10 or more workers are employed at a workplace, the employer shall establish an occupational health and safety committee to monitor the health, safety and welfare of the workers employed at the workplace.
A committee shall consist of 2 to 12 persons. Where the employer and workers cannot agree on the size of the committee, the minister may establish its size.
At least half of the members are to be persons representing the workers who are not connected with the management. The persons representing the workers are to be elected by other workers or appointed in accordance with the constitution of the union of which the workers are members.
The employer shall appoint sufficient employer representatives to ensure that the committee may function.
The employer and worker members of a committee shall elect a co-chairperson from their respective groups.
The employer shall post the names of the committee members in a prominent place at the workplace.
A committee:
  • Shall seek to identify aspects of the workplace that may be unhealthy or unsafe;
  • Shall participate in a workplace inspection that an employer is required by the regulations to conduct;
  • May make recommendations to principal contractors, employers, workers, self-employed persons and the assistant deputy minister or an officer for the enforcement of standards to protect the health, safety and welfare of workers at the workplace;
  • Shall receive complaints from workers as to their concerns about the health and safety of the workplace and their welfare;
  • Shall establish and promote health and safety educational programs for workers;
  • Shall maintain records as to the receipt and disposition of complaints received from workers;
  • Shall co-operate with the assistant deputy minister or an officer who is exercising his or her duties under the act; and
  • Shall perform those other duties and follow those procedures that may be prescribed by the regulations.
Meetings of a committee shall take place during regular working hours at least once every 3 months and a worker is not to suffer loss of pay or other benefits while engaged in a meeting of a committee.

Worker Health and Safety Representative

Where less than 10 workers are employed at a workplace, the employer shall ensure that a worker not connected with the management of the workplace is designated as the worker health and safety representative to monitor the health, safety and welfare of workers employed at the workplace.

The worker health and safety representative is to be elected by other workers at the workplace or appointed in accordance with the constitution of the labour union of which the workers are members.
The employer shall post the name of the worker health and safety representative in a prominent place at the workplace.
A worker health and safety representative has the same duties as those imposed upon a committee where that is reasonably practicable.
A worker health and safety representative shall consult with his or her employer while performing his or her duties.

Workplace Health and Safety Designate

Where less than 6 persons are engaged at a workplace and the designation of a worker health and safety representative is impracticable, the employer may designate a workplace health and safety designate to monitor the health, safety and welfare of workers employed at the workplace.
The workplace health and safety designate shall be appointed by the employer. The workplace health and safety designate may be either a worker connected with the management of the workplace; or the employer, if the designation of a worker connected with the management of the workplace is not practicable.
If the assistant deputy minister or an officer is of the opinion that a workplace health and safety designate cannot adequately monitor the health, safety and welfare of workers employed at the workplace, the assistant deputy minister or officer shall order, in writing, that a worker health and safety representative be designated.
The employer shall provide and pay for training for the workplace health and safety designate. The training provided shall meet the requirements that the Workplace Health and Safety Compensation Commission may set. An employer shall compensate a worker for participating in training as if the training were regular work.
The workplace health and safety designate shall participate in the training provided.
The employer shall post the name of the worker health and safety designate in a prominent place at the workplace.
A worker health and safety designate has the same duties as those imposed upon a committee where that is reasonably practicable.
A worker health and safety designate, where the workplace health and safety designate is not the employer, shall consult with his or her employer while performing his or her duties. Where the workplace health and safety designate is the employer, he or she shall consult with the workers while performing his or her duties.

OHS Officer

An occupational health and safety officer appointed under this Act and includes a medical practitioner providing services under section 20 while he or she is providing those services.

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT
R.S.N.L. 1990, c. O-3

Section 2 Definitions

2. In this Act

(a) "assistant deputy minister" means an assistant deputy minister appointed under section 9 of the Executive Council Act for the proper conduct of this Act;

(b) "board" means the Labour Relations Board referred to in the Labour Relations Act;

(c) "committee" means an occupational health and safety committee referred to in this Act;

(d) "council" means the Occupational Health and Safety Council referred to in this Act;

(e) "division" means the Occupational Health and Safety Division;

(f) "employer" means a person who employs 1 or more workers;

(g) "minister" means the minister appointed under the Executive Council Act to administer this Act;

(h) "occupation" means employment prescribed by the regulations as an occupation;

(i) "officer" means an occupational health and safety officer appointed under this Act and includes a medical practitioner providing services under section 20 while he or she is providing those services;

(j) "principal contractor" means the person primarily responsible for the carrying out of a project and includes the person who owns the thing in respect of which the project is being carried out;

(k) "self-employed person" means a person who is engaged in an occupation on his or her own behalf;

(k.1) "supervisor" means a person authorized or designated by an employer to exercise direction and control over workers of the employer;

(l) "supplier" means a person who rents or leases tools, appliances or equipment to be used by a worker;

(m) "worker" means a person engaged in an occupation; and

(n) "workplace" means a place where a worker or self-employed person is engaged in an occupation and includes a vehicle or mobile equipment used by a worker in an occupation.

[S.N.L. 1999, c. 28, s. 1; 2006, c. 16, s. 1; 2009, c. 19, s. 1]

Section 6 Workers' general duty

6. A worker, while at work, shall take reasonable care to protect his or her own health and safety and that of workers and other persons at or near the workplace.

Section 7 Specific duties of workers

7. A worker

(a) shall co-operate with his or her employer and with other workers in the workplace to protect

(i) his or her own health and safety,

(ii) the health and safety of other workers engaged in the work of the employer,

(iii) the health and safety of other workers or persons not engaged in the work of the employer but present at or near the workplace;

(a.1) shall use devices and equipment provided for his or her protection in accordance with the instructions for use and training provided with respect to the devices and equipment;

(b) shall consult and co-operate with the occupational health and safety committee, the worker health and safety representative or the workplace health and safety designate at the workplace; and

(c) shall co-operate with a person exercising a duty imposed by this Act or regulations.

[S.N.L. 1999, c. 28, s. 3; 2001, c. 10, s. 26; 2004, c. 52, s. 2]

Section 37 Committees

37. Where 10 or more workers are employed at a workplace, the employer shall establish an occupational health and safety committee to monitor the health, safety and welfare of the workers employed at the workplace.

[S.N.L. 1999, c. 28, s. 9]

Section 38 Membership of committees

38. (1) A committee shall consist of the number of persons that may be agreed to by the employer and the workers but shall not be less than 2 nor more than 12 persons.

(2) At least half of the members of a committee are to be persons representing the workers at the workplace who are not connected with the management of the workplace.

(3) The persons representing the workers on the committee are to be elected by other workers at the workplace or appointed in accordance with the constitution of the union of which the workers are members.

(4) Where the employer and workers cannot agree on the size of the committee, the minister may establish its size.

(5) The employer shall appoint sufficient employer representatives to ensure that the committee may function.

(6) The employer and worker members of a committee shall elect a co- chairperson from their respective groups.

(7) The employer shall post the names of the committee members in a prominent place at the workplace.

Section 39 Duties of committees

39. A committee established under section 37

(a) shall seek to identify aspects of the workplace that may be unhealthy or unsafe;

(a.1) shall participate in a workplace inspection that an employer is required by the regulations to conduct;

(b) may make recommendations to principal contractors, employers, workers, self-employed persons and the assistant deputy minister or an officer for the enforcement of standards to protect the health, safety and welfare of workers at the workplace;

(c) shall receive complaints from workers as to their concerns about the health and safety of the workplace and their welfare;

(d) shall establish and promote health and safety educational programs for workers;

(e) shall maintain records as to the receipt and disposition of complaints received from workers under paragraph (c);

(f) shall co-operate with the assistant deputy minister or an officer who is exercising his or her duties under the Act; and

(g) shall perform those other duties and follow those procedures that may be prescribed by the regulations.

[S.N.L. 2001, c. 10, s. 29]

Section 40 Meetings of committee

40. Meetings of a committee shall take place during regular working hours at least once every 3 months and a worker is not to suffer loss of pay or other benefits while engaged in a meeting of a committee.

Section 41 Worker representative

41. (1) Where less than 10 workers are employed at a workplace, the employer shall ensure that a worker not connected with the management of the workplace is designated as the worker health and safety representative to monitor the health, safety and welfare of workers employed at the workplace.

(2) The employer shall provide and pay for training for the worker health and safety representative.

(3) The training provided under subsection (2) shall meet the requirements the Workplace Health Safety and Compensation Commission may set.

(4) The worker health and safety representative shall participate in the training provided under this section.

(5) An employer shall compensate a worker for participating in training under this section as if the training were regular work.

[S.N.L. 2001, c. 10, s. 30; 2004, c. 47, s. 27]

Section 42 Election of representative

42. The worker health and safety representative is to be elected by other workers at the workplace or appointed in accordance with the constitution of the labour union of which the workers are members.

Section 43 Posting name

43. The employer shall post the name of the worker health and safety representative or the workplace health and safety designate in a prominent place at the workplace.

[S.N.L. 2004, c. 52, s. 9]

Section 44 Duties of representative

44. (1) A worker health and safety representative or the workplace health and safety designate has the same duties as those imposed upon a committee under section 39, where that is reasonably practicable.

(2) A worker health and safety representative or the workplace health and safety designate, where the workplace health and safety designate is not the employer, shall consult with his or her employer while performing his or her duties under subsection (1).

(3) Where the workplace health and safety designate is the employer, he or she shall consult with the workers while performing his or her duties under subsection (1).

[S.N.L. 2004, c. 52, s. 10]

Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 2012
N.L.R. 5/12

Part III GENERAL DUTIES

Section 15 Working alone

15. (1) In this section, "to work alone or in isolation" means to work in circumstances where assistance would not be readily available to the worker

(a) in case of an emergency; or

(b) in case the worker is injured or in ill health.

(2) An employer shall conduct a risk assessment where a worker is assigned to work alone or in isolation;

(3) Where a risk assessment required under subsection (2) identifies a hazard, appropriate controls shall be implemented to eliminate, or where elimination is not practicable, minimize the risk associated with the hazard;

(4) An employer shall develop and implement a written procedure for checking the well-being of a worker assigned to work alone or in isolation;

(5) A procedure referred to in subsection (4) shall include the time interval between checks and the procedure to follow in case the worker cannot be contacted, including provisions for emergency response;

(6) A person shall be designated to establish contact with the worker at predetermined intervals and the results shall be recorded by the person;

(7) A procedure referred to in subsection (4) shall be developed in consultation with the worker assigned to work alone or in isolation, the occupational health and safety committee, the worker health and safety representative or designate, whichever applies;

(8) A procedure referred to in subsection (4) shall be reviewed at least annually, or more frequently if there is

(a) a change in work arrangements that may adversely affect a worker's well-being or safety; or

(b) a report that procedures are not working effectively.

Section 17 General duties of workers

17. (1) A worker shall make proper use of all necessary safeguards, protective clothing, safety devices, lifting devices or aids, and appliances

(a) designated and provided for his or her protection by the employer; or

(b) required under these regulations to be used or worn by a worker.

(2) A worker shall follow the safe work procedure in which he or she has been instructed.

(3) A worker shall immediately report a hazardous work condition that may come to his or her attention to the employer or supervisor.

Section 22 Interpretation

22. (1) In sections 23 and 24, "violence" means the attempted or actual exercise of physical force to cause injury to a worker and includes threatening statements or behaviour which gives a worker reason to believe that he or she is at risk of injury.

(2) In this section and section 24.1, "workplace harassment" means inappropriate vexatious conduct or comment by a person to a worker that the person knew or ought to have known would cause the worker to be humiliated, offended or intimidated.

(3) In sections 24.1 and 24.2, "harassment prevention plan" means a plan developed, implemented and maintained by an employer in accordance with section 24.1.

(4) A reasonable action taken by an employer or supervisor relating to the management and direction of workers or the workplace is not workplace harassment.

[N.L.R. 3/19, s. 1]

Occupational Health and Safety First Aid Regulations
C.N.L.R. 1148/96

Section 4 Duties of employer

4. (1) An employer shall

(a) provide and maintain

(i) first aid kits, associated supplies and equipment in a workplace in accordance with CSA Z1220 "First Aid Kits for the Workplace", and

(ii) other first aid supplies, services and equipment required by these regulations; and

(b) ensure so far as is reasonably practicable the application of the kits, supplies, equipment and services referenced in paragraph (a) towards prompt and effective first aid.

(2) An employer shall post in a conspicuous position at a workplace a written notice which outlines a policy and procedure for the reporting of injuries.

(3) Where an employer requires a worker to work alone the employer shall if it is reasonable to do so or if required to do so by an officer ensure that the worker holds a valid emergency first aid certificate.

(4) Where more than one but less than 15 workers are engaged on one shift an employer shall ensure that one of the workers holds a valid emergency first aid certificate unless an officer directs that a higher certificate is necessary.

(5) Where 15 or more but less than 200 workers are engaged on one shift an employer shall ensure that there is

(a) at least one worker who holds a valid standard first aid certificate unless an officer directs that a higher certificate is necessary; and

(b) in addition, a worker holding a valid emergency first aid certificate for each group of 25 workers or part of it in excess of 25 workers.

(6) An employer shall appoint a first aid attendant, where 200 or more workers are engaged on one shift and in addition shall ensure that there is a worker with a valid emergency first aid certificate for each group of 25 workers or part of it in excess of 25 workers.

(7) A person appointed under subsection (6) shall be situated in a position so as to be readily available in case of accident and in a state of dress and personal cleanliness consistent with the treatment of an injured person.

[N.L.R. 68/20, s. 2]

Section 12 Status of workers

12. Where workers work in relative isolation from first aid services, the employer shall provide some effective means of checking on their well-being at intervals satisfactory to an officer.