There is no specific legislation prohibiting employees to work alone, especially those working in high-risk locations including warehouses where heavy machinery is used or where chemicals are stored. This not only reduces the safety and security of employees in commercial premises, but also puts them under stress due to isolation.
While legally people can work alone, the OHS laws state the general legal duties of employers:
“An employer shall provide and maintain so far as is reasonably practicable for employees a working environment that is safe and without risks to health.” [Section 21(1)] Occupational Health and Safety Act (2004).
All employers are legally required to establish safe working conditions for all employees, whether lone workers or not. It’s their duty to analyse any hazards or risks at work, this is usually done through a security consultation conducted by a commercial security specialist. Once identified, implementation of special arrangements might be required to ensure those risks are avoided, controlled or monitored. To avoid the additional costs of rostering a second person on duty, a monitored surveillance system can be used at a fraction of the cost.
Employees at risk
While general risks apply for all employees and businesses, including robbery, falls or injury, lone workers are at higher risk as they do not interact with other workers, including those working alone on sites, working away from base and people working from home.
What are the risks?
The major risks we identified through long years of working in the commercial security industry include:
- Falls & lifting injuries
- Electric hazards
- Confined spaces
- Chemical & biological hazards
- Toxic exposure
- Machinery handling
- Weather hazards
These might apply to lone workers as well a small group of workers working in isolated areas.
Securing Lone Workers
Employers should talk to their employees and their concerns, and work on addressing them. Where required, a commercial security company can be engaged to conduct any required risk assessment and implement any security measures to eliminate potential risks.
Ryalex Security can design custom security integrations to provide additional safety and other business benefits. For example, when a duress button is activated by a lone worker, a monitoring station operator gains immediate access to the camera footage onsite to verify the alarm. The operator can communicate with the employee and call emergency services if required. This solution also reduces the need for onsite guards providing cost savings for the business.