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How Maryland employers can protect their lone workers

Published on Aug 6, 2015 at 2:14 pm in General Blogs.

Many types of occupations carry risks, and it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that each employee stays safe while working. Keeping a solo worker safe may present challenges, however.

Employees who work alone risk a higher chance of becoming hurt because they lack the oversight of others who can assist them to avoid dangers or help them if an accident occurs. Whether working in a warehouse or factory during a weekend or night shift, traveling during work hours or out on a repair, maintenance or other work assignment, lone workers, by law, are supposed to be protected.

Under these circumstances, employers should take sufficient measures to improve the safety of their lone employees. To begin with, employers should evaluate the risks of their lone workers and set limits on their work responsibilities. In light of improved technology and updated equipment, companies should assess the responsibilities and procedures of its lone workers and make necessary changes to improve their safety. While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to make periodical checks on employees working alone, it is not clear how often the checks should be made.

Additionally, companies should closely communicate with its lone workers at all times, train them how to respond during emergencies and implement guidelines. Companies should provide solo workers with radios, cellphones or other electronic devices so supervisors can easily stay in touch with them. By recognizing hazards and developing a safety plan for these workers, companies can decrease the chances of accidents and injuries.

Most employees who have suffered workplace injuries or an illness directly related to their occupation are entitled to be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Benefits can include a percentage of lost wages, hospital and medical costs and expenses for rehabilitation and treatment. Many workers find the advice of an attorney to be helpful when preparing and submitting a claim.

Source: Safety and Health, “Lone worker safety”, Tom Musick, July 25, 2015

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