Working alone

21 May 2024

Employees working on their own can face a number of additional hazards. For example, using a ladder or lifting heavy objects could be too much for one person.

Another important consideration is the risk of assault. Whilst these incidents are thankfully rare, physical or verbal attacks can have serious physical and traumatic effects for those involved.

Working alone and health and safety law

Where you're an employer and your staff work alone, you will need to:

  • complete risk assessments to identify the precautions that are necessary
  • implement those precautions, providing information and training for employees on what they need to do
  • make periodic checks that your arrangements remain adequate
  • document your arrangements for working alone, perhaps as part of your health and safety policy
  • keep records of what you have done.

You may also have to report physical injury to any employee resulting from violent incidents.

Generally, if someone is injured you may need to show that you've met your duty of care.

Working alone: managing the risk

It's a good idea to check your arrangements even if there haven’t been any incidents. You can do this by identifying situations where staff are required to work alone and may be at risk. You can then decide if the precautions you have in place are adequate or if you need others.

Simple precautions may include:

  • using personal attack alarms
  • providing coded security locks on doors
  • using mobile telephones or two-way radios
  • requiring mobile staff to report their whereabouts and keep in touch
  • making sure that emergency arrangements are adequate
  • providing good levels of lighting
  • providing training in managing challenging behaviour, including de-escalation techniques.

Want to know more?

For more information about lone working, why not read our guide.