Quality and Productivity Database

Descriptive Title of Proposal: Working Alone
Year Submitted 2004
Name of Institution University of Lethbridge
Name (Senior Administrative Office of the Institution) <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Ross Caffyn<br /> <br /> <br /> <br />
Title (Senior Administrative Office of the Institution) Occupational Health & Safety Officer
Telephone: 403 329-2190
Email Address: Email hidden; Javascript is required.

The development process was a collaborative effort with Curriculum Redevelopment Center, Information Technology, Security and Occupational Health and Safety. Once the system was developed it was introduced to senior administration as well as employees. Excellent suggestions were received and the system was adjusted enhancing the user friendly model, which made the concept and physical attributes of the system easy to identify and use. Following the changes an education campaign for all employees was offered to explain why the system was introduced, how the system worked, and the importance of reporting. The working alone icon was placed on a prominent position on the University's electronic notice board for a period of 6 months. The icon is now permanently placed in as accessible location as well as periodically rotated through the leading stories on the notice board.

Criteria Please submit one paragraph describing how the proposal fulfills each of the evaluation criteria.

The feature that makes the Working Alone system portable is the system is a simple web based design. All that is needed to build the system is a backend data base, a web browser and the time required by the stakeholders of the system. Tutorial attached.

Quality Impact

The expected outcomes of the system were that employees are adhering to the legislation, that employees would feel safe when working alone on campus, that Security personnel had an accessible process for identifying employees working alone on campus and that Security personnel emergency phone would be reserved for emergencies.

The results were as expected. Employees and Security personnel are using the system allowing the University to adhere to the legislation. Anecdotal evidence suggests that employees feel safer in the workplace. Campus Security reports a major decrease in staff phone calls.

The system was initiated in January 2003. The results have been successful, both in the number of employees who have used the system and in repeat users. We based success on the number of repeat users because that indicates confidence in the system as well as ease of use.

Productivity Impact

Productivity gains cannot be measured in actual gains or cost reductions but in terms of employee time saved, efforts spared and frustrations alleviated, all of which are more difficult to measure.

The working alone legislation states that if an employee is required to work alone, in order to comply with the regulation, the employer must complete the following four steps; conduct a hazard assessment, eliminate or reduce the risks, establish an effective means of communication and ensure employees are trained and educated.

Completion of the first two steps was not only time but labor intensive. Once the first two steps were completed and attempts were made to establish effective means of communications to adhere to the legislation, complex issues began to arise.

With no system in place OHS took a proactive approach and the result was a system that was accessible, visible, user friendly, inexpensive and secure.


The Working Alone web based system was developed in response to the recently introduced provincial OHS legislation. The unique system was the first one developed in Alberta and has sought the attention of interest parties from various areas.