Working Alone Legislation
Federal and Provincial Lone Worker Regulation Information
What are the lone working rules in place at the Federal and Provincial level?
In Canada, under Bill C-45, the Criminal Code has been amended to state that organizations and individuals may be criminally liable for failure to take reasonable measures to protect employee safety. Bill C-45 regulations apply to all staff and organizations/individuals working in Canada. Further lone working safety legislation is in place at the Provincial level, with specific regulations defined by each province.
Are you in compliance with Provincial and Federal lone worker safety legislation?
The consequences of not monitoring your lone workers can be substantial. From the risk to the personal safety of employees to financial penalties, failing to meet the requirements of lone working regulations can be costly and result in an organization developing a negative reputation of non-compliance.
Although provincial and federal lone working rules differ slightly, common themes include:
- An employer must identify risks and develop a safe working alone policy and procedures.
- An employer must use a reliable communication system to monitor the lone workers.
- An employer must provide safety checks at a frequency appropriate to the risks of the work being performed. Employers must be prepared to provide safety check documentation to verify their compliance with the occupational health and safety act regulations.
Always check with your Provincial Centre for Occupational Health and Safety to be sure that you are abiding by the most current lone worker safety regulations.
Canada Workplace Health and Safety Regulations
Alberta OHS Working Alone Requirements
British Columbia Working Alone Regulations
Workplace BC Working Alone Handbook for Small Business
Manitoba Workers Working Alone or in Isolation Information
Newfoundland Working Alone Safety Guidelines
Saskatchewan Safety in the Workplace
Find more occupational health and safety act and regulation resources on our blog:
How is a “lone worker” defined?
A lone worker is generally considered to be working alone if he or she is performing any work function alone at a workplace, or is not directly supervised by either the employer or a person designated by the employer. This includes working from home, whether physically alone or with other individuals
A worker is considered to be working in isolation if they are working in circumstances where assistance is not readily available in the case of emergency, ill health, or accident.
Working alone is not always hazardous, but when certain circumstances are in play, it can be quite dangerous. Injuries, accidents, and violent public interactions can occur while an individual is working alone, and it is important to ensure that lone workers are monitored and protected.
Which professionals are considered lone workers?
A lone worker is anyone who cannot be seen or heard by any other person while they’re doing their job. Lone workers include:
- Gas station and convenience store attendants
- Healthcare workers who specialize in home care
- Transportation workers
- People who handle large amounts of cash
- Security guards
- Receptionists who work in large buildings where they are isolated behind a door or in a lobby/atrium area
- Taxi drivers
- Food outlet and retail store employees
- Construction workers who are working alone in a bathroom or enclosed area
- Social service and welfare workers who make house calls
- Inspectors, exterminators who travel from location to location
What lone worker activities are considered high-risk?
- Working at heights
- Working in confined spaces like tanks, elevators, grain bins, culverts
- Working with electricity
- Working with hazardous substances, materials, and equipment such as firearms and chainsaws
- Working with materials that produce great pressure
- Working with the public where there exists the potential for violence
Find more information about managing high-risk scenarious and lone worker examples on our blog:
What is lone worker monitoring?
Lone worker monitoring is a practice that involves scrutinizing the safety of employees who work out of sound and sight from other workers. This type of monitoring helps employers check up on their lone workers and see that they are safe.
Whether a lone worker is exposed to risk or not, monitoring must be undertaken in order for companies to comply with Provincial and Federal lone worker regulations. Lone worker monitoring is generally done through phone-based check in systems (like the platforms used by CheckMate) where employees receive automated calls to a smartphone or landline.