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I’m sure you must be thinking, “There is no way magic, mind reading and lone workers in the utility industry have anything in common.”. I know it sounds like an illusion, but there is indeed a common thread. A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Safety2017 conference in Denver put off by the American Society of Safety Engineers. (Sidenote, this year’s show was fantastic and busier than ever, so kudos to the organizers!) The keynote speaker for the luncheon on the last day was Vinh Glang, an entrepreneur and highly entertaining presenter who used magic as a metaphor to explain three essential truths to achieving success. As someone who has attended many conferences and sat through many keynotes staring at my empty plate willing dessert to arrive, I admit, I was skeptical of getting much value out of this one. I could not have been more wrong. Vinh’s presentation offered some valuable lessons that apply to success, and safety. His explanation of...

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When you think of someone who is a lone worker, someone working by themselves in the field or another inaccessible area may spring to mind. While this would certainly qualify as an example of a lone worker, it limits the scope of who may be considered one. Who is a Lone Worker? A lone worker is anyone who works by themselves without any direct supervision. A lot of companies believe that lone workers are only people working who are completely alone, needing a direct line of contact in the event of an unexpected occurrence. However, many legislative bodies have a different definition. They consider a lone worker to be anyone who is working without direct supervision from someone else in their company. For example, if an employee were to visit a customer’s job site, even if there is another person there, they would work for a different company. Hence, the visiting employee is without direct supervision, and thus would qualify as a lone...

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Last week, we talked about how Lone Worker legislation has evolved across North America in recent years. This week, we look at the evolution of worker safety in our day-to-day lives. Does public opinion impact safety procedures in companies? Naturally, company compliance has also evolved to keep pace with the new legislation also with the court of public opinion, which we will explore in next week's blog. [embed]https://youtu.be/zk_ybMVXGJ8[/embed] The Culture of Worker Safety in 2016 Nowadays, both the general public and employees put a higher premium on workplace safety in our culture. When we examine how the expectation of safety has evolved, there are three things driving the cultural shift: Employee Demand Lone Worker safety legislation has evolved, therefore, workers in 2016 are far more aware of, and vocal about, their rights. And with a lot more employees entering Lone Worker situations these days, workers want to be protected on the job. Lone Workers realize they assume higher risks at work, and they...

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If we summarize it in a nutshell, Lone Worker legislation across North America requires companies and organizations to take measures to ensure the safety of their employees. But let’s back up for a moment and look at how we got here. Canadian Lone Worker Legislation In Canada, Bill C-45 of the Criminal Code requires organizations, and even individuals, to take all reasonable measures to protect employee safety. Tragically, the famous case in Canada that lead to Bill C-45 was an underground methane explosion at the Westray Mine in Nova Scotia on May 9, 1992. The explosion killed all 26 miners working underground at the time. The public inquiry and report that followed found the Mine was mismanaged, miners' safety was ignored, and poor oversight by government regulators led to the disaster. As a result, two managers were charged with 26 counts of manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death. But there was a failure to prosecute them based on Canada’s existing laws at the...

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Lone Worker 101 Employers across North America are responsible for worker safety. And companies that employ Lone Workers are required to take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of their employees. So what does this mean for companies with employees who work away from the base office? What about employees who work on site but are isolated from other workers or supervisors? What if your employees work overnight and handle cash? Do you employ a team of workers who are stationed in a remote area? Are they considered lone workers? The definition of a Lone Worker varies a lot from region to region, across different sectors, and from company to company. When we talk about a Lone Worker in terms of workplace safety, however, we can all understand it in the same way: “Job activities carried out in isolation from other workers or without close supervision.” – service.gov.nl.ca Are employees in your organization included by this definition? Let’s consider five different categories of...

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While researching for a webinar on the topic of Lone Worker Monitoring, I came across an article discussing an incident on an Alberta construction site involving a lone, female security guard working after-hours. A mobile unit was driving around the site every few hours to check in on her, and she could contact the site’s dispatch at any time. On the night of the incident, however, dispatch didn’t answer her call, and the mobile unit was nowhere near. As an intruder entered the premises, she called dispatch for help, and was connected to a recording. The result? She was sexually assaulted, and her company, Garda Security, was fined $90,000 under Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Act. This case exemplifies an all too familiar problem with lone worker regulation, and what is perceived as “acceptable” compliance measures. The portion of the Alberta Health and Safety Act that addresses lone working states the following: "the employer must […] ensure workers have an effective means of...

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