Duty of care is defined as the legal obligation for employers to protect their workers from harm and undue risks while at work.
In the province of Quebec, an individual is considered to be a lone worker when they are in an isolated environment where it is impossible for them to request assistance. This includes a wide variety of workers in manufacturing, construction, real estate, social services, security, industrial, and delivery drivers to name a few.
Article 322 of Quebec’s Occupational Health and Safety Act outlines that those working alone would need to have some form of surveillance, either continuous or intermittent, for those working in isolation. The Act further states that workers in an isolated area, at risk of falling more than 3m, or in a confined space, would need a protective device to ensure their safety.
The Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail, abbreviated CNESST, is the organization that the Government of Quebec entrusts for the promotion of labor rights and obligations. CNESST informs and educates workers and employers about the protocols in place to protect lone workers and ensure their health and safety while on-the-job.
How to ensure lone worker safety in Quebec
- Hazard Identification and Prioritization
According to CNESST, identifying and prioritizing hazards is the first step in the occupational health and safety prevention process. Safety hazards in particular include moving parts, confined spaces, lifting/handling equipment, falls and violence. Hazards must then be prioritized and eventually controlled to prevent workplace injury, illness, or death.
To comply with Quebec lone worker legislation, workers must have an efficient means of surveillance, being either continuous or intermittent. While check-in phone calls may be an efficient means for continuous surveillance, software-based solutions, like SafetyAware, can enable organizations to protect their workers in real-time
- Use of Protective Devices
When working in hazardous situations, like confined spaces or at heights, employers and safety managers need to equip their workers with the appropriate PPE and/or sensors. This in turn will mitigate the risk for the health, safety and physical well-being of workers.
- Employee Education
While safety protocols and technology are very important, workers must receive the necessary training to ensure their safety when working alone. Initial training and refresher courses on the best practices can enable your workers to be more aware of on-the-job hazards resulting in a safe and healthy workplace.
Aware360 understands people are the most important part of any workplace and provides the tools to keep employees safe throughout their day. Driven by our passion for people, the Aware360 suite of safety solutions leverage personal technology such as smartphones, wearables and satellite devices to keep people safe and productive, while reducing corporate risk. Visit Aware360.com to learn more.