Policy 041: Lone Workers


  1. Purpose and Scope

1.1.  This policy outlines ACM’s approach towards the safety of those who work alone, without close or direct supervision.

  1. Policy Statement

2.1 ACM, as an employer, has a legal duty to assess all risks to health and safety, including the risks of lone working. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines lone workers as “those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision”. Many of the hazards that lone workers face are similar to those faced by other workers. However, the risks involved may be greater because the worker is on their own. Lone working may also occur where it is necessary for ACM staff to work outside their nominated working hours, or in settings where staff are required to work away from ACM sites when representing the business, for example, external events. This may refer to representation of ACM overseas, and away from a worker’s home domicile.

2.2 There is no specific law dealing with lone working. However, all health and safety legislation applies equally to lone workers and in some cases, is even more applicable. Lone working does not in itself contravene the law, but it may often bring additional risks.

2.3       Some of the key hazards are:

  • Violence and assault – for staff working alone the risks are even greater than usual. They are more vulnerable to assault, and less able to call for assistance.
  • Manual handling – the most common accidental injury at work is manual handling and for lone workers, the risk is even higher – there is no-one to ask for help.
  • Fire – Lone workers are less likely to be aware of a fire until they themselves see or smell it and less able to call for assistance if they get into trouble. It is important that staff always know how to deal with or escape from a fire whilst working.
  • The increased risk of threatening behaviour, due to the vulnerability of lone workers, including the risk of theft and intruders.
  • The suitability of the workplace for lone working.
  • Lone worker medical suitability for lone working.
  • The risk of social isolation.

2.4 All lone workers should be fully trained in the safe working practices to be adopted in order to carry out their tasks safely. This will apply to employees and other workers where applicable, such as agency staff and self-employed contractors.

2.5 Line Management have a responsibility to engage direct reports in discussions to ascertain the suitability for lone working arrangements, taking into account feedback and staff concerns, relating to risk or staff suitability for lone working practices.

2.6 Staff hold the right to decline lone working arrangements based on the suitability of the lone-working setting, and based on their ability to discharge their responsibilities in a lone-working setting, taking into account any medical or personal barriers or complexities.

2.7 Where lone working arrangements are deemed unsuitable or undesirable, line management and direct reports should engage in an open dialogue to propose alternative arrangements.

2.8 Where lone working arrangements are agreed, all lone workers are expected to co-operate fully with any instructions given by their employer. They are also expected to follow their employer’s safe systems of work and any associated procedures.

2.9 It is the joint responsibility of line management and direct reports to establish a point of contact, and contact procedures, to ensure oversight of lone workers safety and well-being. The nominated contact should be agreed prior to lone working taking place.

Risk Assessment

2.10 Prior to the joint agreement of lone working arrangements, line management will ensure a comprehensive risk assessment is completed.

2.11 The risk assessment procedure operates to identify potential hazards, taking into account:

  • Assess the nature and severity of the risks taking into account the likelihood of any violence and abuse
  • Enable control measures to be sought and implemented to remove the risks

2.12 It is expected that the risk assessment will allow line management and staff to identify and minimise possible areas of risks so that they are adequately controlled.

2.13 The risk assessment must take into account:

  • Immediate risks associated with the vulnerability of lone working staff, relating to the increased risk of violence, threatening behaviour, theft, and intruders.
  • The suitability of the nominated place of work, where lone working will occur. The suitability of the workplace should take into account the availability of welfare facilities, hygiene facilities (taking into account individual staff needs and personal circumstances)
  • Any necessary reasonable adjustments to a nominated workplace.
  • The availability of training, prior to the commencement of lone working arrangements, to ensure staff are made aware of manual handling practices.
  • The availability of nominated staff trained in First Aid, including ensuring that lone workers are aware of the specific named staff member, and their contact details.
  • The ease of which, if necessary, emergency services are able to access individuals, should such an emergency situation arise.
  • The availability of contact points, via landline phones, mobile phone coverage, and wifi connectivity.

2.14 All lone workers should ensure that they are fully conversant with the Lone Worker Policy prior to lone working arrangements commencing.

2.15 Lone workers are expected to exercise sound judgement relating to their individual circumstances, their surroundings, their personal boundaries and their safety in instances where lone working arrangements occur.

  1. Responsible Parties

3.1 The policy lead is responsible for the cyclical monitoring and review of the policy in liaison with the Quality Assurance and Enhancement Manager. The Lone Workers Policy lead is:

  • Human Resources Operations Manager

3.2 All ACM staff with line management responsibility, and direct reporting staff, have a responsibility to demonstrate due regard to the Lone Workers Policy.

3.3 Implementation and compliance with the Policy, overseen by the following designated staff:

  • Human Resource Department
  • Staff with Line Management Responsibility of a Lone Worker
  • Staff with responsibility for casual student employees, particularly Student Ambassadors,
  • Nominated First Aid contacts within the Business
  • Designated Safeguarding staff

4. Reference Points

4.1 Internal

  • Critical Incident Policy
  • Safeguarding Policy
  • Staff Code of Conduct Policy
  • Staff Grievance Policy
  • Health and Safety Policy
  • Equality and Diversity Policy

4.2 External

  • Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999


  1. Date of Approval and Next Review

Version:                       1.1

Approved on:               28 Jul 2017

Approved by:               Academic Board

Next Review:                01 Aug 2018

Click to download this policy

Posted in: Falmouth Policies, Middlesex Policies, UOTA Policies