What happens when employees Working Alone or Working in Isolation are not checked on? This answer can be summed up in one unfortunate word: “_______”
I will start off this article with the above question and save the reveal for the end. I’m sure you won’t be too surprised by the answer, but before we get to it, allow me to digress.
Have you ever noticed that what may have been widely accepted in the past, when viewed through the lens of today, seems almost unbelievable? These situations seem to be occurring a lot more often for me in recent years, and probably has something to do with all the added grey hair on my head. It is fun to have these discussions with your friends and colleagues and to hear all of the examples, which inevitably come back around to “Wow can you believe that was allowed”? How about “smoking on an airplane or in an office”, or “not wearing a seatbelt in a car” or “working on a construction site around heavy equipment, where a reflective safety vest and a hard hat were nowhere to be seen” – you can go on and on with these sorts of examples!
I will tell you a story from my days in manufacturing. Years ago, one of our steel plants had a fellow working on an elevated platform on what we called our “Recor Machine”. The machine was all steel and there were moving parts all around. Although some railings were in place, by today’s standards these certainly would not have been adequate. There were a few other people working in the plant, however the work stations were spaced out and people could not visually see each other from where they worked. Lastly, the equipment was very loud and people could not hear each other from where they worked as well.
It was an average day in the plant, and our fellow was working on the “Recor Machine”. However on this day he tripped while on the elevated platform and fell approximately 1m (3’) to the ground striking his face across a steel a bar. At that time our company had no Working Alone policy or procedure in place AND we had no system set up of checking on this person who was working in such an isolated location in the plant.
So what happened? Well, as you probably know by now, the truth is “Nothing” happened and it was only when the worker eventually regained consciousness and stumbled into the supervisors office, bleeding, face cut open with a broken nose, that he was finally rushed to the hospital for medical attention. It was never known how long this fellow laid by his machine needing help and certainly it was only by luck that a much worse outcome did not occur.
Circling back to the theme of my original question, it is commonly agreed upon by our healthcare professionals that when incident occurs and someone experiences a medical emergency, quick response and early medical intervention is critical. This is certainly well known and verified in articles like that from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada which states “Research shows that early medical intervention and management of patients can dramatically improve critical event outcomes.”
This leads to the question of ensuring safety in the workplace, particularly the safety of lone workers. How can organizations and managers provide timely assistance to their staff when incidents occur?
- Perform routine risk and hazards assessments of the work environment
- Develop and implement safe work procedures
- Provide comprehensive safety training for all employees and managers
- Implement a consistent and reliable method of checking on people who are Working Alone or in Insolation – this is the ONLY way we can ensure timely assistance when an incident occurs.All of these measures would certainly would have helped my old colleague back in the days of working on the “Recor Machine”.
CheckMate Working Alone is a amazing piece of technology that helps organization provide Safety Checks for people Working Alone or Working in Isolation. It is a very reliable, user-friendly and cost-effective Solution! CheckMate also provides a complete audit trail for proof of due diligence ensuring your organization meets all legislative requirements.
I am so glad that the world has changed and we are continuing to evolve our concepts of safety, where the number-one priority for an organization is the fact the every employee has the right to a safe and healthy work place each and every day they come to work. Not only do organizations and managers have an obligation to provide a safe workplace, it is in fact the law!
So what happens when someone who is Working Alone or Working in Isolation is not checked on? Sadly, the answer is “Nothing”; nothing will happen and doing nothing is not acceptable in today’s world. When we look back on how things were done in the past and how unbelievable these examples are, know that there are simple solutions to solve these challenges today.