A man suffered fatal injuries while working alone on his family farm in Herkimer, NY.
Chester Szeflinski was caught in a manure spreader and found by family members. He was unconscious and not breathing.
Police say Szeflinski may have been trying to unclog frozen machinery. He died at the scene.
Szeflinski, 34, worked on the farm with his father.
How can lone workers stay safe?
OSHA regulations don’t specifically address employees who work alone.
Employers should address whether lone workers face high risk activities, such as working:
- at heights
- in confined spaces
- with electricity
- with hazardous substances or materials
- with hazardous equipment
- with materials under great pressure, or
- where there is potential for violence.
Another factor to consider: Does the employee have any medical conditions which pose additional risks for working alone?
To ensure a safe work environment, lone workers need:
- training to avoid panic reactions in unusual situations
- sufficient experience to understand risks and precautions fully
- limits on what they can and can’t do while working alone, and
- regular contact between the worker and a supervisor or another worker — if necessary by cell phone.
One option is to use devices specially designed to raise an alarm which are operated manually or automatically tripped by the absence of activity.
Do you have special rules for lone workers at your company? Let us know in the Comments Box below.