Many Texas businesses employ lone workers in places away from others, making them more vulnerable than those working in crews. Occupations that might require employees to work in isolation include oil field mechanics, bulk plant attendants, property managers, security guards, loggers, taxi drivers, retail clerks, ranch hands, custodians, home care nurses and more.
Risks are exacerbated because no one will be nearby in emergencies like injuries, entrapment or illness. In some occupations, lone workers face assault risks from robbers. The work environments, location, and type of work play roles in the risks. For example, working at heights, handling money, working with electricity, confined spaces, dangerous equipment, or hazardous or toxic substances all present unique dangers.
The following precautions and tips might keep lone workers safe:
- Discuss the dangers with the employers in an attempt to have at least two workers together.
- A system by which each worker has a buddy will significantly lessen the dangers of working alone.
- Be equipped with a cellphone, two-way radio, or personal alarm with strong batteries.
- Lone workers should arrange to call the base office at specific times to check-in.
- Set up a system of procedures that will follow if the worker does not check-in.
- Always inform employers or supervisors of travel plans and estimated time of arrival at the destination.
- Use only vehicles with well-maintained engines and equipped with emergency survival kits.
Employers in Texas are responsible for employees’ safety and health, and they must take adequate steps to address known and potential safety hazards. In the event of a work-related injury, employees will likely be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Reporting injuries to the employer as soon as possible is crucial to avoid missing deadlines that could result in declined benefits claims.