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Working safely in remote or isolated areas

In recent months there have been several fatalities and injuries sustained in remote or isolated work areas – and not just in Queensland.

The circumstances behind these events range from seemingly innocuous to extreme. In some cases, workers have unexpectedly entered a hostile situation, in others they were planning adventurous leisure activities, or were traversing long distances or arduous terrain.

Being prepared can help prevent the loss of life or serious injury. Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has a range of resources to assess, manage and respond to these types of circumstances.

Whether you’re a person conducting a business or a worker preparing to enter unfamiliar terrain or conditions, risk analysis should include:

  • identifying the potential or actual hazards
  • assessing the risks
  • controlling the risks
  • reviewing the risk controls in place.

If your employees could work in remote or isolated areas, you have a duty of care to:

  • put measures in place to protect remote and isolated workers from risks
  • ensure workers can communicate effectively and get help if needed
  • make sure no-one else’s health or safety is put at risk through your business or undertaking.

If you’re working in remote or isolated areas:

  • before you leave, tell someone where you’re going and when you’re likely to return
  • make sure you have the right communication equipment you need to stay in touch; for example, a mobile phone, 2-way radio or satellite phone
  • take enough water and food
  • don’t work alone if there is a risk of work-related violence and aggression
  • have a call-in system (if you’re working on a farm, arrange to call in via 2-way radio at specific times, or when you move to another location)
  • keep first-aid equipment handy and make sure you know how to use it
  • ensure you have access to an emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or GPS tracking system
  • include a list of emergency numbers and property GPS coordinates.

More information

Read more about working remotely or in isolated areas.