From 1 January 2014 a duty holder will be required to manage risks to the health and safety of remote or isolated work and implement control measures that include effective communication with remote and isolated workers:
- Remote or isolated work, in relation to a worker, means work that is isolated from the assistance of other persons because of location, time or the nature of the work.
- Assistance includes rescue, medical assistance and the attendance of emergency service workers.
- The Managing the Work Environment and Facilities Code of Practice 2011 provides detail on possible control measures.
Providing an effective means of communication for remote or isolated workers, means ensuring that they can access the assistance of emergency services.
A worker may be isolated even if other people are close by. For example, a community nurse working in the middle of the city conducting clinical visits at night could be considered an isolated worker. In this case, the worker may require some form of duress alarm to enable access to assistance in the case of an emergency.
In contrast, a hundred workers in a base camp in rural Queensland could also be considered to be remote and isolated workers. In that situation, the PCBU needs to consider whether these workers require access to a satellite phone in order to access medical or emergency services and, if so, ensure that they are trained to its use.