The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) define lone workers as those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision. Lone working should be avoided where possible, because of the increased risks it may pose. However, it is recognised that there are situations where lone working cannot be avoided.
Employers have a legal duty to assess all risks to health and safety, including the risks associated with lone working. This assessment should be undertaken before any lone working activity is undertaken. If the risk assessment shows that it is not possible for the work to be done safely by a lone worker, alternate arrangements must be put in place.
The following documents in respect of Lone Working are available in the Document Library:
- P007 Lone Working Policy
- G005 Lone Working Guidance
For further information relating to any of these documents, please contact the Health, Safety and Environment Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or on extension 2073.
Steps to take when assessing lone working activities include:
- Identify the Hazard
- Evaluate the risk
- Control Measures
- Monitor and review
From this initial assessment, the types of considerations which can help ensure that lone workers are not put at risk include:
- Assessing areas of risk including violence, manual handling, the medical suitability of the individual to work alone and whether the workplace itself presents a risk to lone workers;
- Requirements for training, levels of experience and how best to monitor and supervise lone workers;
- Making sure managers know what is happening, including having systems in place to keep in touch with lone workers.
The suitability of control measures will vary according to factors such as location, activity and individual(s) involved. Examples of the types of control measures which may be considered will include, but will not be limited to:
- Specific information, instruction and training (emergency procedures, out-of-hours procedures, personal safety training);
- Book on and off by phone with pre-determined time for task;
- Increased communication systems or procedures (regular prearranged contact by mobile phone);
- Increased supervision;
- Increased security (CCTV, secure access, personal alarms);
- Use of safe systems of work (“Permit to Work” to control scope of activities);
- Where lone working activity involves interaction with others, consider meetings on neutral territory;
- Buddy systems;
- Increased lighting at entrances, exits and car parks; and
- Reducing the height of hedges and bushes in car parks and near entrances and exits.
The Health, Safety and Environment Department provides a 2 hour risk assessment training course which provides delegates with the information needed to be able to carry out a sufficient risk assessment, implement appropriate control measures and monitor and review the assessment’s findings. The course explains each of the stages in carrying out a sufficient risk assessment and provides a blank risk assessment template use in the workplace and references examples available on the University’s webpages.