05. Working Alone Regulations

All Principal Investigators are to do a risk assessment of their field areas and laboratories and identify the potential risks associated with the type of work being done. Training must be provided and Standard Operating Procedures, (SOP’s) must be written to minimize the risks associated with the work being done. All workers must be informed of the procedures.

There must be an effective means of communications in place to minimize the risk factors in the lab or the field. The communications system must allow others to be able to respond to a worker’s needs and the system must be appropriate for the hazards associated with the work being done. An effective means of communications would be to have a check in system where another worker does routine checks on an employee or the employee does regular, scheduled visits to a check point after the completion of a task. The frequency of the checks must be based on the hazards associated with the work being done.

The Department of EAS requires all laboratories to have an After Hours Logbook in place for any employee or student’s who wish to work late in the labs. They must show that they have an effective means of communications in place before being allowed to work in the lab after hours. Some labs should limit work outside of regular work hours OR enforce a buddy system for after hours work.

All department operated facilities have a Working Alone Procedure in place. For example;

  • the Rock Crushing or Rock Saw Rooms will only be available for use during regular working hours. Anyone who needs to use the Rock Saw Equipment or Rock Crushing machines must be trained on the proper operation of the equipment plus have passed WHMIS and the Department Safety Course. Once you have done the required training, you can sign the key out from the secretary in Room 1-26 ESB. The key must be returned before 4:00 p.m.  Neither of these facilities can be used after hours or over the weekends.

The Department of EAS has a Working Alone Policy for those of you who work in offices after hours. Although the University Campus is a relatively safe place to work, problems can arise and you should take appropriate precautions.

When working alone in your offices after hours be aware of your surroundings. The most effective means to reduce personal vulnerability is to simply use the buddy system. This gives immediate support in case of an injury. But if this is not a feasible solution for you consider the following options:

  • keep your office door locked
  • have a communications plan in place. Tell your family or room-mates when you intend to leave and when you will arrive home.
  • phone Protective Services @ 780-492-5252 and utilize their “Lone Worker Program” When you call they will ask you your name, location, time in, expected time out. You are to call them to sign out.
  • use Campus Safewalk to get to your car or transportation., Phone 780-492-5563 or 4WALKME.
  • carry a cell phone
  • do not let people into the building if they do not have the key.
  • report unusual activity to Protective Services immediately. Call 780-492-5050 or Control Centre at 780-492-5555

Department of EAS Response to the Working Alone Regulations:

In April, 2001, the EAS Safety Committee did a Safety Audit of all areas in the department. All Faculty were given information on what they needed to do to comply with the Working Alone Regulations for their lab areas or field areas.

As well, the Safety Committee developed a Working Alone Policy for all departmental facilities. The following areas have been assessed and procedures have been implemented:

The Working Alone Regulations were introduced into the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Act, April 01, 2001. For more information check the following web sites:


The Government of Alberta Working Alone Best Practices:

Alberta Employment and Immigrations:  Working Alone Safely