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  July 31, 2017

Safe Work Procedures for Staff Working Alone

In addition to any other written safe work procedures, employers must develop and implement a procedure for checking on the well-being of employees who are working alone or in isolation.

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A person check procedure must include the following:

  • The designated person who will establish contact and record results
  • Time intervals between checks
  • A check at the end of the shift
  • A procedure to follow in case the employee cannot be contacted

The time intervals for checking the well-being of the employee must be developed in consultation with the employee assigned to work alone or in isolation. Time intervals should be based on the level of risk the employee is exposed to, with lower risks allowing for longer periods between checks. For example, an employee in a store that is located in a strip mall, with workers of other employers nearby, may not require checks as frequently as a worker who is working in an isolated premise. The person assigned to check on the well-being of a worker must be trained in the written safe work procedures and what to do if they are unable to make contact with the worker.

There may be times when employees have to work alone. Here are some procedures to help deal with this situation:

1. Have someone contact the worker periodically to ensure they are okay. The checking procedure must require the individual to take some predetermined action to confirm the worker is all right and does not need help.

2. Contact may be in person, by telephone, or any other effective means. This may include reciprocal agreements with other company locations, adjacent merchants, or security firms. These agreements can include:

    • Telephone contact at predetermined intervals
    • Visual contact or a signal to workers in adjacent premises, or to security patrols

3. Use personal alarms or monitored video surveillance systems, provided that:

    • They are properly maintained
    • The response to signs of distress is made immediately by qualified personnel

4. Make arrangements with adjacent employers to have employees watch each other’s premises.

5. Prominently display notices indicating:

    • That the premises are monitored
    • What emergency numbers to call for assistance

6. If possible, do not open back doors and leave them open and unattended.

7. If possible, do not empty the garbage at night, especially if the dumpster is in a secluded spot or back alley.


1. If attacked, scream – as loudly and long as possible – and run to a neighbouring store or the nearest well-lit area and continue calling for help.

2. If someone grabs your purse, deposit bag, or other personal property, do not resist and do not chase the thief.

3. Call the police immediately after any incident and record the appearance and mannerisms of the offender.

Click here for the Working Alone Handbook.

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