Lone Working

WHAT IS LONE WORKING?

Lone working is not against the law.  As a general rule you are considered to be a lone worker if you work by yourself without close or direct supervision and this is a fairly broad definition.  In our context, examples may include security staff on patrol, cleaners in remote locations, technicians working in labs or workshops alone, lecturers taking students on a site visit (they are not with other staff and so this ought to be considered lone working) or a field trip.

As a rule of thumb, if you work alone then you should be at no greater risk compared to others and this is achieved by assessing the risks associated with lone working BEFORE lone working and applying the control measures.

ASSESSING THE RISK

Any post that requires a person to work alone must be subject to a lone working risk assessment and this should consider the following:

  1. nature of the activity
  2. unique conditions of the working environment
  3. ease of communication
  4. arrangements to raise the alarm in case of emergency (medical or otherwise)
  5. arrangements in place to routinely check the wellbeing and safety of the lone worker
  6. unique characteristics of the lone worker (age, sex, ability, experience etc)
  7. the working pattern
  8. contact with others
When assessing the risk, you will need to consider what could reasonably present a problem.  For example violence, medical problems, cold or hot temperatures.  If there was a problem or emergency, how long before they were found and provided with the care they needed.

Don't forget, the assessment must be carried out BEFORE anyone carries out any lone working and you can refer to the University of Worcester guidance.

Lone Working Guidance

When assessing the risks associated with lone working, please use the following Lone Working Risk Assessment

FURTHER GUIDANCE

HSE Working Alone: Health and safety guidance on the risks of lone working (INDG73)
HSE Violence at work: a guide for employers (INDG69)
HSE Work-related violence web pages
UNISON Working Alone A health and safety guide on lone working for safety representatives
Advice on personal safety either at or away from work  Suzy Lamplugh Trust
European Commission PREVENTING WORKPLACE HARASSMENT AND VIOLENCE