Lone working

Safe management of lone working


Working whilst alone can present additional risks for a number of reasons:

  • If the lone worker is unable to conduct the task safely, there may be an increased likelihood of incurring an accident as well as exacerbating the consequences should there be an accident.
  • The lone worker may find difficulty in dealing with the aftermath of an incident. For example, if it requires more than one person to deal with a spillage safely.
  • Lone workers can be at additional risk due to the fact that, by being alone, it is harder for others to be made aware of the fact that the person is in difficulty. This impacts on the ability to summon assistance.
  • At Imperial, it is also possible that when lone working in secure areas, the number of people that can come to their assistance will be limited to those people that have access to the area.

Lone Working Policy

Lone workers are those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision or contact with others.

It is College policy to ensure that:

  1. All lone working is avoided where reasonably practicable to do so.
  2. Where lone working cannot be avoided, safe working is to be facilitated by:
  • Undertaking risk assessments, where necessary, to identify the hazards, assess the risks and put appropriate control measures in place.
  • Providing adequate and workable procedures to ensure that lone working consent is obtained and recorded in circumstances where this is required either by the College Code of Practice or in accordance with local rules.
  • Liaising with other employers to ensure that adequate procedures are in place in relation to lone working in shared premises.

3. Where risks cannot be adequately controlled, lone working shall be prohibited.

Compliance with this Policy is mandatory. The College Code of Practice (see below) provides practical guidance on how compliance may be achieved.

Lone Working Code of Practice

The College Policy above describes the requirements for all College staff and students and there is a primary emphasis on avoiding lone working where possible. The College's Code of Practice Safe Management of Lone Working describes the procedures that all Faculties and Departments must apply in order to achieve compliance with the College Policy.

It is essential to note that lone workers must understand not only the College Policy and Lone Working Code of Practice, but must abide with the local rules in force for the control of lone working in their areas.

Follow the links in the highlight box for more information on lone working within the specific Faculties and Departments.

Applying for consent to lone work

Before seeking consent to lone work please consider the following;

  1. Do you really need to lone work? Can working practices be altered so as to avoid lone working?
  2. Has the risk assessment covering lone working been completed? You will be asked to provide this when applying for consent to lone work.
  3. Have you confirmed that the lone working activity is not prohibited either within the College Code of Practice or within your Faculty or Department?
  4. Where consent to lone work is required, it is essential that consent from your line manager/supervisor has been obtained. You must ensure that, where local procedures require it, consent from all others e.g. DSO or Head of Department, has also been obtained.
  5. All control measures identified within the lone working risk assessment must be in place before lone working begins, this includes the use of buddies, emergency contacts, lone working alarms or cameras.

    Apply for consent to lone work

24 October 2013: Lone Working Policy approved by College Health, Safety & Environment Committee.