The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Managing Risk When Working Alone

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Because Western Australia covers such a big area, there are many times each day where a person could work alone in a remote or relatively isolated location.

Some examples are:

• Farm workers and foresters; 

• Local or State Government employees;

• Vermin and pest controllers;

• Geologists; and

• Hunters.

Workers may also do their jobs alone in a Perth-metropolitan area. For example, a worker is alone when he or she: 

• Works in a depot or business when there are no other workers;

• Works in a workplace when everyone else has gone home;

• Examines large structures, such as cranes, when there is no-one else in the vicinity;

• Undertakes maintenance or construction work in vacant premises;

• Cleans offices in high rise buildings when there is no-one else in the area being cleaned;

• Is called out at night to check on security alarms or faults in a business premises that is closed;

• Works on his or her own as a ranger in parkland and reserves; and

• Inspects vacant  land  for the presence of noxious weeds when landowners are not present.

In most cases the risk associated with solo-work is increased because of emergency situations which may arise due to the sudden onset of a medical condition, accidental work-related injury or disease, attack by an animal, exposure to the elements, or by becoming stranded without food or water.

The consequences may be very serious and the injury or disease may be fatal.

In response to the heightened risk, the Government of WA has developed this Guidance Note which explains the OSH laws that apply to people who work alone.

It covers general requirements in the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 and specific regulatory requirements where they exist.

Included here, you will also find a completed JSA that addresses the risk associated with working in remote locations.


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