Safe work systems in the workplace

It is important to implement systems to ensure your staff's safety in the workplace. This includes procedures for staff working early and leaving late and for staff working at night, alone or in isolation, who are exposed to a higher safety risk. You will also need to implement safe practices for staff who travel, telecommute from home, or work away from the office.

Working early and leaving late

If you or your employees usually work early or leave late, follow these suggestions:

Before entering the workplace

  • Park in a populated well-lit area as close as possible to your workplace.
  • Look for anyone loitering in the vicinity.
  • Check for signs of forced entry attempts. If you're unsure that your workplace is safe, contact police immediately. Do not enter the premises.

Before leaving the workplace

  • Advise someone that you are working late. Let them know what time you expect to be home.
  • Take a note of anyone loitering outside the workplace.
  • If suspicious, use alarm systems if available; otherwise contact the police.

Working alone, at night or in isolation

Working alone, at night or remotely increases the risk of any job. The following factors should be considered when assessing the risks:

Staff training

  • Implement specific procedures for staff working alone, for example establishing regular contact via phone or radio.
  • Include appropriate behaviour about working alone in your code of conduct.

Personal alarm

  • Provide staff with monitored personal duress alarm.

Retreat

  • Provide a safe retreat or secure location.

Security services

  • Provide security services where appropriate (e.g. random patrols, a security officer at the end of the shift or during the whole shift).

Travelling staff

Consider implementing a business travel plan, including:

  • adequate communication systems (i.e. mobile phones and email)
  • an itinerary accessible to other staff
  • optimal times for travel to avoid possible safety risks
  • maintaining health while travelling (i.e. during air travel).

Telecommuting

Lighting, ventilation, wiring and desk installations for remote workers must meet safe work requirements. Remote workers should also work in a safe way (i.e. not be distracted by interferences and take regular breaks).

To ensure the safety of remote workers:

  • implement a remote worker policy
  • give a risk assessment questionnaire to the worker to complete
  • visit the worker's home and carry out a risk assessment.

Workplace harassment

Harassment can involve physical contact, verbal comments and non-verbal actions such as offensive gestures and inappropriate emailing. Staff can be both psychologically and physically affected by workplace harassment.

To ensure staff are aware of appropriate behaviour in the workplace:

Read more about managing conflict in the workplace and developing leadership skills.

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