(Page 1 of website guidance)
About lone working
How to get permission for lone work
The steps to follow, with summary flowchart
Guide to completing risk assessment
People at risk
Lone working approval form
Lone working risk assessment form
About lone working
The main principle for lone workers is that they should not be at more risk when working alone than working with other employees. Therefore employees should be kept out of situations where risks are increased due to working on their own.
Lone working has as many variations as normal work, and countless controls (from simple „log in & out‟ books through to „permit to work‟ systems). It is impossible to
cover every eventuality in this document so instead a safe working system should be implemented which is appropriate to the risk levels.
Permission for lone working
It is important to get permission for lone working because of the potential increase in risks. If lone working is being considered or has been noted as occurring, a number of steps should be followed before the work can be authorised. The following guidelines and flowchart will take you through the process of getting authorisation for your lone work.
(Page 2 of website guidance)
How to get permission for lone work
1 - Lone working situation is identified or is being 1. Anyone who needs to work alone must get permission considered from their line manager. This applies to everyone in the University, whether employee, student, visitor, contractor etc.
2 - Has No Prohibit lone working permission 2. When a line manager gets a request for permission to activity been undertake lone working, they must complete a risk obtained? assessment and identify any control measures required for
the applicant to work alone with safety. Yes • Approval granted or rejected
3. The line manager must then seek written permission from 3 - Has a risk No the head of school or service and inform the applicant of Prohibit lone working assessment the decision. Where lone working is authorised, they must activity been
completed? ensure the necessary control measures have been • Is lone worker at additional risk? implemented. Monitor • Is training required? and Yes • Is the lone worker competent? review • Have you considered supervision? 4. If a lone working activity is carried out regularly over an • Emergency procedures? extended period, the line manager must monitor the 4 - Have the No efficiency of the control measures and review them Prohibit lone working controls been activity implemented? frequently. Appropriate monitoring regimes depend on the
risk factor but might range from periodic visits,
• Physical safeguards implementing “permits to work” or CCTV observation.
• System of work Yes • Training 5. Finally, a list of work activities that are NOT suitable for • Supervision or monitoring
5 - Has the risk lone working (e.g. work with toxins, pathogens, high power No Prohibit lone working been lasers etc.) should be established by the faculty, school or activity controlled? service. The activities should then be documented and
reported to staff to ensure they are never carried out by • Is lone worker at greater risk than lone workers. those that work with colleagues? Yes
6 - Lone working may be 6. By following these points you can ensue lone workers are carried out as safe as possible.
(Page 3 of website guidance)
Guide to completing a risk assessment
The lone worker and their line manager should undertake the risk assessment as a collaborative exercise. The agreed safe working procedures must be recorded and communicated to everyone who may be required to work alone, and any colleagues who have a role to play in ensuring their safety. This section details what to consider when carrying out a risk assessment for lone working.
; Risk assessments should establish the following:
o Whether the work can be done safely by a lone person
o What arrangements are required to ensure a lone worker is not
exposed to a greater risk than those who work together
This includes the conditions where lone working is permitted, the scope of work
permitted and the arrangements necessary to ensure the safety of the lone
; Risk assessments involve the following steps:
1. Identify the hazards
2. Identify people who may be affected
3. Identify suitable controls
4. Record the assessment
You can get a lone working approval form and a risk assessment form at the end of
The following table contains some key questions to consider when identifying the specific hazards of lone working. You should bear them in mind when undertaking a suitable and sufficient risk assessment.
Does the workplace present a special Due to the environment, location,
risk to a lone worker? contents, unfamiliarity etc.
Equipment, process, substances, Does the activity present a special risk location, time, members of public, to a lone worker? handling cash etc.
Is there a safe way in and out for one In the course of normal work and in the
person? event of an emergency etc.
Can the equipment be adequately Manual handling, operation of controlled and handled by one essential/emergency controls etc. person?
Can all goods, substances and
materials be safely handled by one Flammables, toxins, pathogens etc.
(Page 4 of website guidance)
Is the working environment Heating, lighting, ventilation etc. appropriate?
Are the welfare facilities adequate and Toilet, washing, drinking water etc. accessible?
Does the lone worker have first aid First aid kit, first aider, eye wash station,
facilities or access to them? etc.
Does the lone worker have access to
a suitable means of communication, Telephone, mobile, radio, inactivity alarm or other means of summoning etc.
assistance if required?
Is there a risk of violence associated Previous history of verbal threats, with the work activity or location? violence, interaction with public, etc.
Maturity, familiarity with procedures, Is the lone worker more at risk due to knowledge and experience, particularly their gender or inexperience? young and new workers
Has the employee received sufficient
Is the employee competent? information, instruction and training to
enable the work to be undertaken Is the emergency plan appropriate?
safely whilst alone?
Has the employee received specific
training in how to respond to
foreseeable emergencies that may Fire safety, spills, electrical shut down etc.
arise in the course of their work
Is the worker medically fit to Health checks, health monitoring? undertake the work alone?
Periodic visits, use of local security staff,
What arrangements are in place to signing in/out, periodic contact provide adequate supervision? arrangements, open diaries, CCTV,
inactivity alarms, „permits to work‟
Are there contingency plans in place
should an alert or alarm be raised by Would you or your colleagues know what a lone worker? Are these plans well to do, who to contact?
known and rehearsed?
Are clear written procedures
established by schools and services?
(Limits set as to what can and cannot What activities should be prohibited
be done whilst working alone, when to
stop work and seek advice etc.)
(Page 5 of website guidance)
Specific hazards must be assessed on a separate risk assessment form and cross-referenced with this document where appropriate. Examples where specific assessments are available include
; Hazardous substances
; Display screen equipment
; Manual handling operations
How can the risks be reduced? For every hazard, controls should be put in place to minimise the risk. Use this part of the risk assessment to:
1 - Identify the existing control methods
2 - Assess their effectiveness, and
3 - Specify any additional controls that may be necessary.
Consider alternative work methods, training, supervision and protective equipment.
There are too many control measures to list in this document, but here are some ways of controlling risk to bear in mind:
; Specific information, instruction and training (emergency procedures, out-of-
hours procedures, personal safety training).
; 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 worker activity involves interaction with others, consider meetings
on neutral territory (rather than in homes)
; Buddy systems
; Increased lighting at entrances, exits, car parks
Lone workers should be given information to deal with normal everyday situations but should also understand when and where to seek guidance or assistance from others, such as in unusual or threatening situations.
The level and extent of training required will depend on the nature of the working activity as well as the knowledge and experience of individuals. Young and new workers especially will need more training.
Give special consideration to the level of competence required for people to work alone in safety. This is normally set at a higher level than that required for those who work with other colleagues.
(Page 6 of website guidance)
The amount of supervision required will depend on the level of risks involved and the ability and experience of the lone worker. A few examples of supervisory measures that may be useful in some circumstances include:
; Periodic telephone contact with lone workers,
; Periodic site visits to lone workers
; Regular contact (telephone, radio)
; Automatic warning devices (motion sensors)
; Manual warning devices, (panic alarms)
; End of task/shift contact (returning keys)
People at Risk
“People at risk” doesn‟t just mean the lone worker - security or other core services
could be involved, along with contractors, students and visitors. Identify hazards to all people who may be at risk, as well as hazards faced by the lone worker. The following factors all point to increased risk:
; Medical conditions
; Expectant mothers
It is important that these individuals are made aware of the outcome of the risk assessment and informed of all necessary control measures. It is a requirement for everyone undertaking lone working activity to be assessed for suitability and fitness for the task. The HSE has identified several vulnerable groups and states that employers must identify vulnerable employees who may be particularly at risk. These
vulnerable groups include:
Group Additional considerations for lone workers
The University‟s duty of care extends to the unborn child as
well as risks to the mother herself. Therefore assessments
must include the risk to any unborn child or child who is
Consideration must also be given to: New and ; Impaired mobility may make the mother more prone to expectant mothers slips, trips and falls (especially in the later stages of
; Impaired ability to carry out physically strenuous work
; Increased likelihood of back injuries.
; Entitlement to more rest breaks.
; Risk of early labour or miscarriage.
(Page 7 of website guidance)
Group Additional considerations for lone workers
; Lack of experience and immaturity. Young people
; Inability to concentrate for long periods. aged under 18 ; Entitled to more frequent rest breaks.
; Mobility problems and visual impairment may make
unassisted evacuation difficult.
Disabled people ; Potential difficulties in raising the alarm when
assistance is required.
; Unable to hear alarms.
Contractors must be given the same level of
consideration as University employees when carrying out
a risk assessment.
Contractors are at additional risk because they are unfamiliar Contractors
with aspects of the University, including:
; Layout and environment
; Emergency procedures
; Adjacent activities and hazards
These considerations are just a guide and are not exhaustive. Each risk assessment
must consider the vulnerabilities of the person involved in the lone working task, and
identify controls to cut risk to an acceptable level.
(Page 8 of website guidance)
Lone Working Approval Form (To Be Completed by Head of School/Service)
The following individual Name (Print)
has requested access to their place of work, Room No./ Building