Australia Lone Worker Legislation

A lone (or isolated worker) carries out their work activities without the immediate and direct support of colleagues or supervisors. Simply put, if they can't be heard or seen by their colleagues, they are working alone, whether an entire day or a part of the working day.

According to a survey conducted in 2021, nearly half of all the surveyed businesses didn't have a safety management system in place for lone workers. This is concerning, as these types of employees do not have anyone with them to account for their safety.

Luckily, JESI devised an easy-to-use, reliable remote worker management software to make monitoring the safety of lone workers easier for organisations. Furthermore, under lone worker legislation, companies require a plan for emergencies so that the proper steps can be taken to secure the isolated worker. Let's explore the lone worker legislation in Australia.

Does Lone Worker Legislation Differ Between Each Australian State?

Worker safety is critical for all organisations, especially those working in at-risk environments. Some of the occupations that would classify as at-risk would be:

  • Construction worker
  • Industrial worker
  • Farmer
  • Transportation engineers

Each Australian territory has outlined its Work, Health, and Safety (WHS) laws, with a separate regulatory authority enforcing them. Though there are variations in the kind of lone worker legislation for each territory, they all must adhere to their WHS or Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Acts.

About the WHS Act

The Workplace Health and Safety Acts were designed to create a nationally consistent and balanced framework for protecting workplaces and workers. Apart from Western Australia and Victoria, one of the WHS act variations applies to every state.

Safe Work Australia is a body that develops policies for WHS compensation, helping improve work, health, and safety across Australia. However, it's important to note that it doesn't enforce or regulate WHS laws. State governments implement and regulate the safety and health laws that apply to their jurisdiction.

About the OSH Act

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (apart from the WHS) governs Australia's work, health, and safety practices. Though Western Australia follows the 1984 OSH Act, and Victoria follows the 2003 regulations, each similarly provides a consistent and balanced framework to incorporate safety and health practices within workplaces.     

WHS and OSH Acts By Territory

Here are the different territories and the act that applies to each:

  • Western Australia: Occupational Safety and Health Act (1984)
  • Victoria: Occupational Health and Safety Act (2004)
  • Commonwealth Australia: Work Health and Safety Act (2011)
  • Tasmania: Work Health and Safety Act (2012)
  • South Australia: Work Health and Safety Act (2012)
  • Queensland: Work Health and Safety Act (2011)
  • Northern Territory: Work Health and Safety Act (2011)
  • New South Wales: Work Health and Safety Act (2011)

Lone Working Law

Lone workers also come under the OSH and WHS Acts (according to their state). Since employees working in isolation are at a higher risk, they need a specific risk assessment, routine communication at various intervals, and proper safety equipment.

Occupational Safety and Health Regulations (1996) Section 3.3 states regarding remote worker management:

There should be a way for isolated employees to communicate with their organisations in case of an emergency. If a worker is working in complete isolation due to the nature, location, or time of their work, then employers have to ensure that:

  • Communication means are available so that the isolated worker can call if they face an emergent situation
  • A procedure is established so that the employee can be regularly contacted and trained

Furthermore, employers should try to implement regulations of their own to ensure lone workers' safety, such as:

  • Developing a written safety and health policy that all employees read and understand
  • Conducting comprehensive lone worker risk assessments
  • Regular review and improvement on lone work policies and risk assessments
  • Provide instructions, training, supervision, and information where appropriate
  • Taking proactive steps to eliminate or reduce risk to create a truly safe environment for workers

Ensure You Comply with Lone Worker Legislation by Using JESI

JESI has created a solution businesses can use to streamline their operations. The program offers a wealth of benefits besides improving health and safety standards, such as:

  • Evaluating productivity,
  • Worker check-in/check-out timing documentation

For isolated workers, in particular, their software offers a communication solution and connection no matter where they are, with managers having complete visibility of each worker.

In Conclusion

In Australia, workers' health and safety are taken very seriously, especially for lone workers doing their tasks alone. The Work Health and Safety (WHS) and Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Acts were designed to ensure that each state has a framework to protect workers and workplaces. To automate the remote worker management process, provides the perfect solution. Request a demo now to see the potential of this software for yourself.


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