Various types of jobs can involve occasional or frequent instances of individuals having to work alone. These situations can range from property management to construction, and the potential for an injury on the job is a serious consideration for the employees. It is difficult to monitor the welfare of an isolated worker, especially if that person is traveling from site to site or is located at a remote site. Injuries could include slip-and-fall situations, medical episodes, or even active shooter scenarios. Employers are expected by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to monitor the well-being of isolated workers.
Although OSHA provides for monitoring employee safety at regular intervals, this can be a vague requirement in terms of the length of such intervals. The level and frequency of monitoring lone employees may vary based on the dangers posed by the task in question and by the length of time that such an individual will be on their own.
Many companies use radios or cellphones to facilitate communication throughout a work period, allowing for a form of remote monitoring. However, a situation such as a heart attack might not be identified promptly due to the expectation of a lapse in time between communications. In some cases, employers have invested in personal safety equipment that allows for prompt identification of an emergency. If workplace accidents occur while such equipment is in use, assistance can be provided right away. Although such equipment can be costly, those who have invested in these systems express the importance of heading off much more serious situations.
An individual who is concerned about their safety during time spent alone on a remote assignment may want to discuss the situation with supervisors or with a company safety officer. If an accident occurs due to superiors ignoring such concerns, there could be fines for ignoring state or federal safety regulations. An injured worker should be covered by workers’ compensation in such a situation.