Generally, a remote area refers to a location that’s difficult to access. It may refer to a rural location, such as the desert or countryside. It can also mean a place that isn’t easily accessible by vehicle, like offshore or mines. While this area has road access, they are usually far from the nearest police station, hospital, or other workers. This means that if a team member requires immediate medical intervention, it will take time for help to arrive.
Working in remote areas is part of everyday business operations for various professionals, including construction workers, engineers, surveyors, and foresters. However, these isolated areas pose an environmental risk and other dangers to employees. Workers in remote areas are twice as likely to be hospitalized due to injuries than regular employees. That’s why employers should have strategic measures to protect their employees working in remote areas.
In this post, we’ll discuss the various dangers that remote area workers face and how to prevent them. So, take a look!
Natural Disasters And Extreme Weather
Examples of extreme weather conditions include desert heat, fog, cold winter, and heavy rainfall. Extreme weather can cause dehydration, low visibility, hypothermia, slippery roads, and flooding. Since most remote workers operate outdoors, they’re more likely to be affected by extreme weather conditions. This increases the risk of accidents and even deaths because help or emergency response is far from the site.
Natural disasters, on the other hand, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, and avalanches, seriously threaten remote workers. A natural disaster can injure or trap employees in caves or confined spaces. Due to their location, it becomes more challenging to seek and receive help, worsening the situation.
To prevent the danger posed by these two conditions, conduct a job site inspection before commencing any work. Get relevant support and adhere to safety regulations. Offer oilfield buildings or shelters for your workers during dangerous weather conditions and provide plenty of water for hydration. Generally, ensure to address all the potential issues before starting the project and train your workers to handle any problem.
Exposure To Mutagens, Carcinogens, And Biological Agents
Remote work can involve working in old buildings, confined spaces such as mines and sewers, or outdoor locations with animal exposure. These situations increase the risks of chemical or biological exposure to remote workers, leading to different long-term health conditions.
Some mutagens, carcinogens, and biological agents affecting remote area workers include animal bites, legionella bacteria, contaminated needles, pandemics, zoonoses, and blood-borne viruses. Wood dust can also cause nasal cavity cancer or sinuses, while asbestos fibers can lead to lung cancer.
Employees should wear personal protective equipment, including boots, goggles, helmets, gloves, masks, and suits to minimize exposure. Wearing protective gear protects against mutagens, carcinogens, and biological agents. They also prevent injuries and increase workers’ productivity as they work without fear.
The remote working industry often involves traveling to the site and performing assignments in isolated and unfamiliar locations, like forests or woodlands. Remote areas lack defining features, making it easier to lose direction, especially if workers don’t know how to read maps. This leads to time and resource wastage, thus decreasing your business productivity.
To prevent or minimize this risk, employers should equip their workers with appropriate navigational equipment like satellite navigation systems and maps or a global positioning system (GPS). Workers must be trained to use this equipment, maneuver unfamiliar locations in challenging circumstances, and manage possible risks.
Furthermore, during the planning process, directions should be given to a manager in the company in case help from the company is needed. There should also be a check-in procedure and an emergency response plan, should anything happen.
One of remote area workers’ most overlooked dangers is mental health. Although any team member can be affected by mental health, those in isolated or remote areas are at higher risk. The mental issues of remote area workers are brought about by isolation and loneliness, hard labor, challenging working conditions, and witnessing accidents.
To prevent this, employers must promote workplace health programs to create a culture of good health. Employers should also invest in mental health assessment tools, offer free or subsidized counseling or lifestyle coaching, and host seminars or workshops to address stress and depression management.
Remote workers face numerous difficult and sometimes impossible dangers to control. However, this doesn’t mean you should cross your fingers and expect everything to be okay. You must ensure your employees’ safety to boost their mental and physical health as they’re assured of protection no matter how far they’re from the rest.