There is often the misconception that lone working is against the law, but it isn't. The law just expects us to consider and deal with any risks that could arise, as with any other work activity.
What is a Lone Worker?
Some think lone working is only if we work away from a fixed base, but lone workers are also those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision. For example, at the University, 'lone working' could include:
Staff at fixed bases:
- Staff who work mainly be themselves in workshops/buildings e.g. Biocomposites site at Mona, HSS staff at Penbre who are alone for long periods when colleagues are out.
- Staff working in another part of a building to others. To put this into context think about whether you work for long periods alone where if you shouted for help no one would hear or there is never anyone passing by e.g. if you worked at one end of a long corridor and someone else worked the other end through a set of doors, or on another floor.
- People working outside normal hours e.g. Technicians feeding animals, domestic staff.
Staff working away from their fixed base:
- Maintenance and Grounds staff who are always on the move.
- Farm workers in the fields.
- Staff on home visits e.g. as part of their research or as part of their role.
- Staff on field trips both home and abroad.
- Security staff.
What needs to be done?
Always risk assess 'lone working' activities. The best method is to assess it as part of your normal workplace risk assessment, as this will help you gauge the 'lone' risk alongside your actual work.
The following links will provide you will useful information on what to consider when assessing 'lone working' risks: