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Reducing risks faced by lone workers

Tennessee employees who work alone may face more risks than those who work with others. A basic safety precaution is to have one worker watch out for danger while the other works, but this is not possible for lone workers. Employers should take extra care when their employees are required to be in this type of a situation due to the nature of their job.

By itself, working alone is not necessarily unsafe, but employers should develop special procedures for workers who are not within calling distance of anyone in case of a serious workplace injury accident. Employers can reduce risks by ensuring regular contact by supervisors during lone work hours, conducting risk assessments, using automatic warning devices that contact supervisors if the employee is not responsive during a fixed period of time and training lone workers on emergency response protocol in the event of an accident. These are just a few recommended safety measures.

OSHA's standards regarding working alone can be vague. For example, in the shipyard industry, OSHA recommends that employers account for employees at "regular intervals" but does not state how often an interval should be in this circumstance. Experts suggest that safety precautions should be tailored to take into account the safety risks unique to each industry.

Regardless of precautions, workplace accidents will continue to happen. People who are injured on the job often face high medical expenses and prolonged absences from work. Most employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance, and an eligible employee may want to obtain the assistance of an attorney when filing a claim for benefits that can provide some relief from these financial burdens.

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