Working Alone Legislation
Federal and Provincial Lone Worker Regulation Information
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.
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 in 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 legislation. 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.
What lone worker activities are considered high-risk?
The following conditions are considered high-risk lone worker activities:
- 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
What 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 legislation is 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. The legislation is also in place at the provincial level, and specific regulations are defined by each province.
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 rules. Downloadable PDF overviews of Provincial Working Alone Regulations are available from the list below: