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Lone worker HOC

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afdmello
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Lone worker HOC

Post by afdmello »

Hi All,

I am trying to create a hierarchy of controls for lone workers and want input on my thinking.

Can buddy work system be considered as a substitution? We do not substitute the hazard here however the buddy will provide immediate assistance and thereby decrease the severity. The thinking premise is that lone worker exposed hazard maybe same as that when working with workers in vicinity, except that the risk is higher due to the absence of immediate assistance.

Can wearables devices be considered as engineering control? I am considering them as administrative controls as they only provide warning or alert someone that a worker is in need of assistance and does not separate the worker from the hazard.

What are some of substitution and engineering controls when a worker is working alone?

Thanking you,

AFD
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Alexis
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Re: Lone worker HOC

Post by Alexis »

afdmello wrote: Thu May 20, 2021 5:29 pm Hi All,

I am trying to create a hierarchy of controls for lone workers and want input on my thinking.

Can buddy work system be considered as a substitution? We do not substitute the hazard here however the buddy will provide immediate assistance and thereby decrease the severity. The thinking premise is that lone worker exposed hazard maybe same as that when working with workers in vicinity, except that the risk is higher due to the absence of immediate assistance.

Can wearables devices be considered as engineering control? I am considering them as administrative controls as they only provide warning or alert someone that a worker is in need of assistance and does not separate the worker from the hazard.

What are some of substitution and engineering controls when a worker is working alone?

Thanking you,

AFD
Great question AFD. I am sure we will receive some good responses when people have a moment to respond. ./thumbsup..
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Steve M
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Re: Lone worker HOC

Post by Steve M »

What do you consider a buddy system?
Is it someone who is with the employee constantly or visits every now and then?
If they stay with the employee constantly then it is no longer lone working and normal Risk assessment would be required.
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Re: Lone worker HOC

Post by afdmello »

Good point Steve. Thanks
Buddy system is a solution and it effectively eliminates the definition of working alone.
Buddy will be with the worker to initiate response in the event of an emergency , injury or illness.
I will move it to the eliminate control

What control would fit into the substitute hierarchy of control for working alone?
Substitution control : Reduce risks by substituting less hazardous methods or materials.
Can we change the nature of the hazard or moderate the hazard severity?
Maybe there is no substitution control as there is no specific hazard we are controlling but the protective control to mitigate the consequences.

Brain storm exercise to the forum members.

AFD
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Re: Lone worker HOC

Post by andybz »

This is a great example of how existing safety tools/methods can help us think objectively about safety, and dare I say make us think "outside of the box." Just remember that all tools have their limitations. You can knock a screw into a piece of wood with a hammer, but it is not very effective or reliable. Equally a screwdriver is no good for knocking nails in.

To properly apply HOC we need to define the hazard (something that can cause harm). Lone working is not, really a hazard. The closest I can come to is that if someone is taken ill or injured they may come to additional harm due to delayed detection and hence treatment. This leads me to the following:

Eliminate - don't do the task that currently requires lone working (keep the worker at head office).
Substitute - appoint a buddy (this does not change the hazard of the task but reduces the delay of detection)
Passive engineered control - none that I can think of
Active engineered control - wearable device (agree that there still needs to be a response but this overcomes the hazard of delayed detection)
Administrative control - hourly phone calls to check the worker is OK with procedure to send search party if no response
Mitigation - give the worker a first aid kit to self treat

Ultimately the requirement is to confirm that the overall risks are ALARP. You can answer that by considering what more can be done to reduce the risk and then explaining why any additional controls are not reasonably practicable. If the concern is that the lone worker may experience a 'normal' medical emergency that is not directly related to the task (i.e. heart attack, fall in a hole) the controls lower on HOC will be acceptable. If the task is hazardous then you need to be looking at the higher levels.
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afdmello
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Re: Lone worker HOC

Post by afdmello »

Thank you Andy. This is risk based thinking and sincerely appreciated...

I completed the HOC using your suggestions and those of Steve by using buddy system in the eliminate control as technically the worker is no longer alone.

AFD
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Re: Lone worker HOC

Post by blusseis »

Are there any official requirements in this respect? I am from the US, https://worldcams.tv/united-states/deerfield-beach/pier. And I think, if you check the legislation in every state, you will find a lot of recommendations. I believe, everything should start from this point, with improvements and various add-on were possible. Who can give examples in this respect?
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