What is Isolated and Remote Work?
Working in isolated and remote locations present certain unique challenges. A lone worker could be anyone who works out of sight of another person, this can include the receptionist of an office building, or even, someone working from home.
Although working in isolation can present difficulties for teams and is particularly hard for the more sociable amongst us, risks are increased when working in locations that are considered remote from towns, cities and other community centres. These risks can be further exacerbated if the work undertaken is also inherently dangerous regardless of the location. The combination of all these risks can present real challenges to both workers and their managers.
Lessons From the Past
Historically, some remote work included working in places such as mines, farms, oil rigs and lighthouses. As difficult as these occupations are, they are all in their own way essential to the rest of society, and therefore necessary. Stories abound about the dangers and hardships face by the people who chose to work in these environments.
In the past, it was a lot harder to remain totally safe working in dangerous occupations in remote locations. Risks varied according to the job and location. For example, it was common for lighthouse keepers to drown or be badly injured trying to reach the lighthouse located on an isolated island, or retrieving supplies brought to the island by boat. There are even stories of lighthouse keepers mysteriously disappearing during stormy weather.
Likewise, outback workers on remote farms in central Australia have occasionally succumbed to the conditions and later been found dead, if at all. However, it is more common for farms workers to be badly injured or even killed by accidents involving the heavy machinery needed to work a farm. Often the injuries are life changing, making it difficult to return to the work force. In the same way, mining and oil rig accidents involving heavy machinery, explosions or the collapse of the mine are also devastating, not just for those involved, but for entire communities.
The Dangers Summarised
Potential dangers that can be faced by people working in remote locations include:
- Accidents, including those involving machinery
- Becoming lost and running out of food or water
- Weather events, including extreme heat and cold
- Physical illness
- Assaults from strangers
- Attack from animals
- Anxiety and depression
As dangerous as these situations can be, they all have the added risk of being far from help when it is needed. This can exacerbate injuries and potentially result in people dying. The truth is, if something goes wrong in a remote area, help will take much longer to reach you, even today.
Solving the Problem Today
In 2021, a lot of the risks can now be reduced or even avoided completely through the use of modern technology. For example. lighthouses are now mostly operated remotely, with only a small number still crewed. However, there is still a need for people to service and repair unmanned lighthouses from time to time, but this is generally during fine weather.
In many other industries there is still a need for people to be working in remote locations. However, telecommunications and tracking devices can be used to reduce the risks when incidents do occur. UniGuard offers a range of GPS trackers and staff attendance verification systems, that help the manager know where their vulnerable staff are, allowing them to response quickly when problems occur.
To learn more about how the UniGuard staff tracking system can help to keep your workers safe, contact us today.