Health and Safety Executive
Health and safety guidance on the risks of lone working
This leaflet provides guidance on how to keep lone workers healthy and safe. It is aimed at anyone who employs or engages lone workers, and also at self-employed people who work alone. Following the guidance in the leaflet is not compulsory, but it should help employers understand what they need to do to comply with their legal duties towards lone workers under:
the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974; the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
This is a web-friendly version of leaflet INDG73(rev3), published 05/13
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This must include:
involving workers when considering potential risks and measures to control them; taking steps to ensure risks are removed where possible, or putting in place control measures, eg carefully selecting work equipment to ensure the worker is able to perform the required tasks in safety; instruction, training and supervision; reviewing risk assessments periodically or when there has been a significant change in working practice.
This may include:
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being aware that some tasks may be too difficult or dangerous to be carried out by an unaccompanied worker; where a lone worker is working at another employer’s workplace, informing that other employer of the risks and the required control measures; when a risk assessment shows it is not possible for the work to be conducted safely by a lone worker, addressing that risk by making arrangements to provide help or back-up.
Risk assessment should help employers decide on the right level of supervision. There are some high-risk activities where at least one other person may need to be present. Examples include:
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working in a confined space, where a supervisor may need to be present, along with someone dedicated to the rescue role; working at or near exposed live electricity conductors; working in the health and social care sector dealing with unpredictable client behaviour and situations.
Employers who have five or more employees must record the significant findings of all risk assessments. Employers also need to be aware of any specific law that prohibits lone working applying in their industry. Examples include supervision in diving operations, vehicles carrying explosives and fumigation work. Further information about controlling risks can be found on the HSE website at: www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/. Further sources of information are listed at the end of the leaflet.
Working alone: Health and safety guidance on the risks of lone working
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Health and Safety Executive
What must employers consult on?
By law, employers must consult all their employees on health and safety matters. Effective consultation will also help ensure that relevant hazards are identified, and appropriate and proportionate control measures are chosen. You can find more advice on HSE’s website: www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/managing/consulting.htm.
Which particular problems affect lone workers?
Lone workers should not be put at more risk than other employees. Establishing a healthy and safe working environment for lone workers can be different from organising the health and safety of other employees. Some of the issues that need special attention when planning safe working arrangements are set out in the following pages, but your risk assessment process should identify the issues relevant to your circumstances.
Can one person adequately control the risks of the job?
Employers should take account of normal work and foreseeable emergencies, eg fire, equipment...