Working alone refers to employees in situations whereby they are out of sight and hearing of others and when they do not expect a visit from another person.
Working alone situations may arise while:
- working off site
- working in remote or isolated areas of the college
- working after hours [e.g. 6pm - 7am weekdays and anytime on weekends or holidays]
Working alone does not necessarily increase the risk of violence. Assess your situation to determine whether the risk is low, medium or high by considering factors such as:
- the type of work activity
- the amount of interaction with clients or public you will be having
- the consequences of an emergency
- time and distance to emergency communication
- time and distance from assistance
Working alone is prohibited under certain situations such as:
- Working in confined spaces as defined by occupational health and safety regulations.
- Working at heights where there is a hazard of falling more than 3 meters.
- Using a ladder exceeding 6m in length when the ladder is not securely fastened or is likely to be endangered by traffic.
- Working on live electrical equipment with nominal voltage of 300 volts or more, except while testing equipment or trouble-shooting
- Working on electrical transmission or outside distribution systems rated at more than 750 volts.
- Working with fast acting and acutely toxic chemicals
- Working with dangerous equipment that could cause critical injury.
- Working in a trench.
Working Alone Control Measures
The buddy system is a procedure in which two people (buddies) work closely to monitor each other's activities and safety in certain situations. The buddy system is to be used in situations where regular contact with a co-worker is recommended due to the nature of your work. i.e. You anticipate that an individual is likely to be upset or irate during your interaction, possibly aggressive or even commit an act of violence.
Examples include: Handling cash, Counseling, Health Services, Financial Aid, Admissions, Security and Parking, holding disciplinary meetings or meetings with potentially volatile individuals.
If you feel threatened during a meeting or interaction - Trust your instincts and summon immediate assistance by contacting Security through any of the following methods as applicable to your particular campus or calling the local police at 911:
- Ext. 55 on college phones other than at the IAHS or Brantford Laurier and Nipissing
- Ext. 88 at the IAHS
- Ext. 5888 at Brantford Laurier and Nipissing
- through the use of any of the following as applicable to the specific location:
- panic alarms
- emergency intercoms in hallways or parking lots
- emergency buttons on Bell payphones or
- through another individual
Check-in Procedures While Working Alone
Maintain regular contact with a designated person to ensure you're okay. The check-in procedure must require you to take some planned action to confirm you are all right and do not need help.
- Personal Check by Another Person
- Arrange for an individual such as Security Services or another designated person to check on your well-being by conducting visits at regularly planned intervals. The length of time between checks will depend on the estimated hazard of the job function or location of the workspace.
- Periodic Contact [Telephone; Cell Phone; Text Messaging; Radio]
- Arrange for an individual such as Security Services or another designated person to check on your well-being by contacting you via telephone at regular intervals. The length of time between checks will depend on the estimated hazard of the job function, or the location of the workspace. Scheduling calls for specific times will prevent false alarms.
Working Alone in Low Risk Areas
Workers who work alone in low risk areas such as offices and/or after regular business hours (6pm to 7am weekdays and anytime on weekends or holidays) should take personal safety precautions that may include:
- Signing-in at the main reception desk of your campus, using card access and advising Security of your presence
- Lock all office doors
- Arrange for a personal check or periodic contact [telephone, cell phone, text message, radio] with Security or a co-worker
- Relocate or park your vehicle in a well lit area as close as possible to the building.
- Request an escort to your vehicle if necessary by contacting Security Services or Walk Smart
Working Alone Summary
- Use the "buddy" system whenever possible
- Take personal safety precautions
- Know how to summon immediate assistance when an emergency occurs or is likely to occur
- Know your environment (e.g., location of exits, phones, emergency intercoms or panic alarms if available)
Carry a communication device (e.g., cell phone, radio or panic alarm as appropriate