Safety watch: Staying safe when working alone

Updated Feb 8, 2019

Ssfety_Watch_Opener (1)Many of Total Landscape Care’s Safety Watch articles touch on not working alone to stay safe on jobsites. However, there are times when crew members may have to work alone.

So, how do you protect workers from injury when they don’t have someone keeping an eye out for them? The solution involves a combination of evaluating both the individual doing the work and the task at hand.

Here are some tips to incorporate:

1. Assess the risk. Look at the work to be done as a whole. If there is any part of the job that cannot be safely performed by one person, be sure it’s clear that worker must cease work and obtain assistance prior to moving forward.

2. Evaluate the employee. Workers with certain physical conditions or who take medication may need a crew leader nearby. Have any worker who will be on their own check in at regular intervals and at the end of the shift.

3. Provide additional training. If an employee is to be left largely to his or her own devices, they’ll need to work with a different mindset. For example, the worker will need to be in the habit of keeping all necessary tools within an easy arm’s reach. The training should set clear guidelines on what behaviors would be considered an unnecessary risk, such as lifting a heavy item alone.

Don’t forget: If you’re the landscaper and you’re doing work alone, you must hold yourself to the same set of rules. Check in at set times with someone who is expecting your calls and will take appropriate action if you do not check in. Never try to do a job alone that is better suited for two people.

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