Working Alone

Independent Brewers Association Beer News

Your brewer is working alone in the brewery, in the middle of a brew process, which requires them to climb up a ladder with a hazardous chemical. Suddenly they lose their footing and the worker and chemical falls, inducing chemicals burns. What happens next? What do we do in case our worker needs medical help? Will we know if the brewer is injured? Is there any reason we are not aware of the situation?

In a brewery, there could be a need for a brewer to work isolated even if other people may be close by, i.e. the brewer in the production area and office staff in the office. In other cases, a worker may be far away from populated areas, such as sales people on the road. In some situations, a brewer may be alone for a short time. In other situations, the brewer may be on their own for whole shifts, days or weeks.

Remote or isolated work is work that is separated from the assistance of other people because of the location, time or nature of the work being done. Assistance from other people includes rescue, medical assistance and emergency services.

What do we need to Understand about Working Alone!

Working alone has its risks. Although we may work efficiently isolated and alone, we need to consider the risks associated:

  • How long would the person need to be alone to finish the job?
  • Is there increased risk at certain times of day? For example, a delivery worker working alone late at night using a forklift.
  • What machinery, tools and equipment may be used?
  • Are high risk activities involved? For example, work at heights, work with electricity, chemicals or plant.
  • Is fatigue likely to increase risk (for example, with long hours driving a vehicle or operating machinery)?
  • Is there an increased risk of violence if workers must deal with clients or customers by themselves?
  • Can environmental factors such as extreme hot or cold affect the safety of the worker?
  • Is there risk of attack by animals, insects or wildlife?

Using Technology

It is readily available these days. There is no reason to not have constant communication with your workers. In some cases, there might not be sufficient coverage of the network. If this is the case, qsk yourself:

  • What communication does the worker have access to?
  • Are there procedures for regular contact with the worker?
  • What else is required for the worker to contact someone when required?
  • What will happen in an emergency situation as mentioned in the beginning?

Consider This!

Conduct a simple risk assessment on working alone and consider what controls are required for a safe work environment. A simple solution is to ensure that there is always another person on the shift. However, in rare cases, a worker may need to work alone. If so, consider:

  • Limit the length of the shift or the time someone might be alone.
  • Develop a check in procedure – several times throughout the shift the worker calls to “check in”.
  • Require the lone worker to have a fully charged cell phone on their person at all times.
  • Where high risk activities are being conducted, consider a “man down” motion sensor that can alarm locally or call out to a central alarm station, or alternatively a mobile duress alarm.
  • Where risks are still considered too high install a watchman system that if not tripped every so often will call for help.

Contact us for further information or advice on Working Alone protocols for your team.