Posted 10:00am, 18 Sep 2019
Work is changing..
For many - work now includes travel, flexible hours, more autonomy and potentially some isolation and risks.
What is 'remote' work?
A worker may be considered remote or isolated even if other people are close by.
In some situations, a worker may be alone for a short period of time, while in other situations they may be on their own for days or weeks in a remote location or while travelling.
PCBU’s (person’s conducting business or undertaking) have a duty of care for their team’s.
In Australia this duty is detailed under section 19 of the WHS Act.
Employers must, so far as is 'reasonably practicable', manage the health and safety of their workers, contractors and volunteers while they are at work.
PCBUs must provide and maintain a work environment that is healthy, safe and without risks to the health of workers, or other persons affected by the conduct of the business or undertaking.
PCBUs should proactively identify, assess, control and monitor tasks or workplace environments that present a risk to remote or isolated workers using a 'risk management' approach.
Determine whether remote or isolated work is necessary and identify the hazards and appropriate risk control measures.
Determine the level of worker supervision required, if supervision is not possible ensure a robust emergency communication and response pathway is in place.
Engage and consult with workers (and/or their representatives) to decide what level of support and assistance is required.
Ensure workers are equipped with all necessary knowledge, skills, training and support tools to make their work trips enjoyable, productive, safe and as stress free as possible.
Always consult workers about health and safety policies and procedures.
Ensure that workers understand the risk associated with their work and the necessary precautions to be taken.
Provide guidance in situations where the risks of remote or isolated work are unclear.
The legislation in New Zealand, the UK and in Canada is very similar to the Australian laws.
As you can see, there are many things to be thinking about when sending an employee away for work - or just sending an employee into a potentially isolated setting locally..
In a worst case situation, if you need to make an insurance claim, or are involved in legal action...
If there is an accident, emergency, or in the case of illness - has your company invested enough in a safety and risk management plan that ACTUALLY works?
Can your company prove that it has done everything it can to ensure safety?
Some final take home points on business travels and local trips;
Double check that all bookings have been confirmed and that you know the 'game plan' well before the departure date.
Know what to do if things go wrong overseas.
Be aware of general and location specific risks (locally and when travelling overseas).
Company policy needs to include lone work & travel safety provisions.
Policy should treat senior management the same as other employees.
Companies should inform or educate employees around general or specific travel and lone work risks.
Travel and lone work safety management programs should cover high-risk international travel, domestic travel AND local risk factors.
Risk assessments need to include a 'door-to-door' approach and cover risks faced by employees after long haul flight's, following travel to and from local work sites and travel on foot following night shifts.
Workers going overseas should have an undertstanding of the destination's cultural, environmental and political climate and prepare accordingly.
Make reporting issues, near misses, accidents, incidents and concerns EASY.
And of course.. all travel plans can be saved in the Verisafe Vault prior to departure!
All crisis management plans need to be created AND tested - before sending people on the road - in order to be effective..