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This page gives advice on practices that can help to ensure the health and safety of employees who work alone.
Lone workers are those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision.
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There is no legal requirement indicating that lone working must not happen.
However, a great deal depends upon the
Risk Assessment which should be undertaken as part of broad duties under
The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) and
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999).
These regulations require identifying the hazards found at work, assessing the risks arising from these hazards, and then putting measures in place to control the risks.
To read more about the above legislation, please follow the links under
Risk Assessment should indicate any significant risk, and detail how the risks should be adequately controlled for lone working to continue.
Risk assessment often identifies the correct level of supervision or backup required. Some risk assessments, such as those for working in confined spaces, state that communication and rescue arrangements need to be in place where at least one other person needs to be present.
Control measures may include training, instruction, communications, supervision and
personal protective equipment.
If a Risk Assessment shows it is unsafe to work alone, then arrangements should be in place for providing help or backup.
If the worker is at another employer’s workplace, the occupier should inform the lone worker’s employer of the risks and of control measures needed.
For organisations with five or more employees, the Risk Assessment of significant findings must be recorded.
Safe working arrangements for lone workers are no different to organising the safety of other employees:
Lone workers in many situations also face greater risks from
violence and aggression.
Check that lone workers have no medical condition that would make them unsuitable for working alone, seeking medical advice if necessary.
Training is particularly important where there is limited supervision:
The extent of supervision depends on the risk and the ability of the lone worker to identify and handle health and safety issues.
Employees new to a job may need to be accompanied until competencies are achieved. Supervisors may periodically visit to observe the work being done.
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My company wants me to move to a lone working system. Is this legal?
Free resources from Healthy Working Lives Links below are to publications pages giving options to download these resources:
Free guidance from the Health and Safety Executive Note - all links are to external pages on the HSE website giving options to download or order these resources:
Priced guidance from the Health and Safety Executive Note – all links are to external pages on the HSE website giving options to order these resources:
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
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