In Canada, each province sets their own legislation for Health and Safety, which often includes provisions for Lone Workers. In principle, this helps each province address the needs of Lone Workers in a way that takes into consideration the unique economies and climates of each Province, but quite often it means that some Provinces lag behind others in having strong legislative requirements.
First, a look at the Provinces with strong legislation in place:
Of all the Canadian Provinces, British Columbia has the strongest legislation around Lone Workers. Clear, explicit language creates a framework of legal requirements around the minimum responsibilities to Lone Workers, as well as what constitutes the minimum acceptable acts of due diligence.
British Columbia also includes clear language that defines the minimum ongoing actions a business or organization must take throughout a Lone Workers shift to check in and verify the safety of the Lone Worker. It identifies the specific need for specialized training as a Lone Worker, due to the additional dangers with working alone and without supervision.
This legislative document is the gold standard for Lone Workers in Canada, and many other provinces have a long way to go before they meet this level of regulatory commitment.
Arguably the second-best set of Lone Work legislation in Canada, and the longest-established. Saskatchewan legislation includes a direct all to the due diligence laws in place to compel businesses to act appropriately in identifying and minimizing as much risk as possible, while also including specific provisions for instituting a communications platform for Lone Workers to stay in contact with their coworkers.
The Saskatchewan Lone Worker legislation also includes a selection of specific suggestions to satisfy the minimum requirements for safety. This includes provisions such as a recommended contact schedule, prohibited work activities, minimum mandatory training and task competency, task-specific best practices, and provisioned safety equipment and emergency supplies.
Manitoba Lone Worker provisions in their health and Safety Legislation is strong, with an emphasis on risk identification and procedural regulation.
For Risk Identification, the focus shifts the process of identifying the risks to a workplace committee or, if there is no committee, to the workers themselves. What this means is that the Lone Workers and their coworkers are responsible for letting the organization what the risks are, and advising them on specific needs they have for maximizing their safety.
Independent of the risk assessment provisions, there is a very clear set of mandatory requirements for organizations to follow for their Lone Workers. While Saskatchewan suggests comprehensive options, Manitoba includes a selection of ‘must’ provisions for training, due diligence, compliance, and the implementation of a rigorous Lone Worker communications platform.
These examples are among some of the best for what makes up strong legislation. Unfortunately, many provinces don’t quite measure up to these excellent benchmarks, but instead rely on existing due diligence laws. Regardless of the province, all organizations have a legal requirement to protect their workers whenever they can, and SafetyLine remains one of the most effective means to that end.
To read more about the importance of Due Diligence, read this excellent series of articles by Kent MacFarlane: Due Diligence and Keeping Lone Workers Safe.