Lone Working

Establishing a healthy and safe working environment for lone workers can be different form organising the health and safety of other employees.  Lone Workers should not be put at more risk than other people working for you.

Detailed in the tabs below you will find information relating to Lone Working procedures within your Board.

National Services Scotland

The NSS Lone Working procedure aims to ensure that appropriate risk assessments are written and reviewed for significant lone working risks across NSS.

This procedure gives instances of lone working and contains key information, advice and support for Managers and Employees to assist them in undertaking their roles and responsibilities under the NSS Lone Working procedure.

It is often safe to work alone, however the law does require NSS to think about and deal with any health and safety risks before people are allowed to do so.

As a Line Manager there are things should be considered to help ensure lone workers are not put at risk this includes:

  • Assessing areas of risk including violence, manual handling, the medical suitability of the individual to work alone and whether the workplace itself presents a risk to them
  • Requirements for training, levels if experience and how best to monitor and supervise them
  • Making sure that you know what is happening, including having systems in place to keep in touch with them, this includes home workers.

If you require additional information you can contact the NSS Health & Safety Advisors through HR Connect Contact Us / Health and Safety 

 

NHS 24

NHS 24 has in place a Lone Workers Policy which links with the below risk assessment which should be carried out when employees are lone working.

NHS Golden Jubilee

Lone Working Guidance

This document is designed to assist staff in deciding if they are, or can be, classified as a lone worker and help to provide the relative guidance on where to find all relative information.

Public Health Scotland

The PHS Lone Working procedure aims to ensure that appropriate risk assessments are written and reviewed for significant lone working risks across PHS.

This procedure gives instances of lone working and contains key information, advice and support for Managers and Employees to assist them in undertaking their roles and responsibilities under the PHS Lone Working procedure.

It is often safe to work alone, however the law does require PHS to think about and deal with any health and safety risks before people are allowed to do so.

As a Line Manager there are things should be considered to help ensure lone workers are not put at risk this includes:

  • Assessing areas of risk including violence, manual handling, the medical suitability of the individual to work alone and whether the workplace itself presents a risk to them
  • Requirements for training, levels if experience and how best to monitor and supervise them
  • Making sure that you know what is happening, including having systems in place to keep in touch with them, this includes home workers.

If you require additional information you can contact the NSS Health & Safety Advisors through HR Connect Contact Us / Health and Safety 

Scottish Ambulance Service

SAS recognises that some staff are required to work by themselves without close or direct supervision for significant periods of time. The dangers of working alone cannot always be foreseen or avoided. This policy is aimed at protecting staff so far as is reasonably practicable from lone working risks.

    • How will I be supervised when carrying out lone working activities?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

      The extent of supervision required depends on the risks involved and the ability of the lone worker to identify and handle health and safety issues. The level of supervision needed is a management decision, which should be based on the findings of a risk assessment, i.e. the higher the risk, the greater the level of supervision required. It should not be left to individuals to decide whether they need assistance.

      Where a worker is new to a job, undergoing training, doing a job that presents specific risks, or dealing with new situations, it may be advisable for them to be accompanied when they first take up the post.

      There may be some high-risk activities where at least one other person may need to be present, e.g.

       - 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 electricity conductors;

       - Working in the health and social care sector dealing with unpredictable client behaviours and situations.

    • I’m a Line Manager / Supervisor what e-learning is available?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

      NSS have undertaken a training needs analysis reviewing, training tasks completed, accident statistics, sickness absence statistics, risk assessment information and control measures already implemented. This e-learning course will provide Line Managers / Supervisors an insight into the risks associated with working alone and will support and identify control measures that can minimise them.

      Interactive e-learning - Lone Working for Managers

      Line Managers / Supervisors have a responsibility for the safety of their lone working employees. This e-learning module will provide all managers and supervisors with information required to understand the Health and Safety Regulations that apply to lone working and the responsibilities of the employer and employee.

      This e-learning module will support the managers to:

       - Understand who is a lone worker, and what are their responsibilities are

       - Identify how safe your lone worker is and how to identify and evaluate a job for potential risk associated with it;

       - Identify the potential hazards that come with a home working job.

    • I’m a Line Manager/Supervisor what’s my role if I have a Lone Worker?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

      Line Manager / Supervisor you are responsible for the day to day implementation of NSS health and safety policies, procedures, process maps and safe systems of work.

      Your specific requirements and duties under this procedure are to:

      • Ensure where possible, to avoid the need for lone working in the work activities for which they have line management responsibility;
      • To be responsible for ensuring that all recommendations from an assessment are implemented as soon as is reasonable practicable;
      • Are released and provided with adequate time and resources to undertake risk assessments as and when required;
      • and staff are provided with adequate health and safety information, instruction, training and supervision in their roles, including effectively communicating this procedure and risk assessment findings across all staff areas;
      • and staff effectively and efficiently carry out their health and safety roles and responsibilities.
      • Ensure that employees who undertake lone working activities are provided with adequate time, resources, and where a risk assessment deems necessary, the appropriate equipment to either maintain contact with their colleague(s) or raise the alarm in an emergency situation;  
      • Sign off, own and review of the lone working risk assessment(s);
      • Appoint a Nominated Competent Risk assessor for the task and effective implementation and enforcement of subsequent safe systems of work and any resulting corrective action;
      • Ensure any changes to work as a result of lone working risk assessment findings are also reflected in the relevant safe system of work documentation such as Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and that equally any changes to SOPs should trigger a review of the related lone working risk assessments to assess how these may be affected;
      • Regularly attend Health and Safety committee meetings to ensure awareness of health and safety issues and to ensure all aspects of health and safety are suitably managed
      • Ensure Nominated Competent Risk Assessors:
    • I’m a Lone Worker what do I need to do?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

      All employees must:

      • Take care of the health and safety of themselves and others;
      • As your Line manager / NSS Facilities Management Team what the requirements are for signing in and out of each Building in regards to working alone;
      • Comply with this procedure and follow safe systems of work developed from lone working risk assessments;
      • Co-operate with management to assist us in meeting their statutory obligations in relation to health and safety;
      • Follow any instructions and training provided;
      • Not knowingly put themselves or others in a situation which exposes them to additional risk by working alone;
      • Report and identify work to their Line Manager at the earliest opportunity if they anticipate a lone working situation

      Report any risks or hazardous or work situations that present serious and imminent risk to their line manager, which may require a lone working risk assessment to be carried out.

    • I’m a Lone Worker what e-learning should I be completeing?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

      Interactive e-learning - Lone Working for Employees

      This eLearning module will support the delegate to gain an insight into the risks associated with working alone and will point out control measures that can minimise them

       

      This e-learning module will support Lone Workers to:

      • Understand what ‘lone working’ means and identify the occupations that involve working alone;
      • Identify the hazards related to lone working and home workers;
      • Recognise the control measures that can minimise the risks of lone working, and list some practical tips for staying safe when working alone.

        

      This e-learning module will support the managers to:

      • Understand who is a lone worker, and what are their responsibilities are
      • Identify how safe your lone worker is and how to identify and evaluate a job for potential risk associated with it;
      • Identify the potential hazards that come with a home working job.
    • What activities are not suitable for Lone Working?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

      Working alone is not itself illegal and in most situations it will be quite safe to do so, however there are some work situations where risk assessment will determine that it is not safe to carry out the work in a lone working environment.  Examples include:

       - Working in a high risk confined space, where a supervisor may need to be present, along with someone dedicated to the rescue role;

       - People working at or near live electricity conductors;

       - Other electrical work where at least two people are required;

       - High risk working at height activities;

       - Working in a walk in -40 freezer;

       - Where Occupational Health have deemed an individual unsuitable for lone working activities for health reasons.

      The above list is not exclusive and Line Managers and Employees need to decide based on the individual risk assessments whether lone working is appropriate for the particular activities.

    • What are the Lone Working hierarchy of controls?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

      The level of controls necessary would be dependent on the level of risk to which employees are exposed. Adopting a hierarchy of controls method can prove a useful tool when determining what needs to be done to minimise the risk. These are:

      Eliminate – does the task/activity need to be carried out in a lone working situation? e.g. Can the task be carried out during normal working hours or in an area where others are present or implement a buddy system;

      Reduce – if we can’t eliminate the risk, can we reduce the amount of occasions or period an individual will spend in a lone working situation? e.g. reduce the amount of journeys someone who drives for a living has to make by using teleconference facilities etc;

      Improve – restrict the type of work activities undertaken in a lone working situation to low risk activities only and provide adequate supervision where possible, e.g. implementing engineering controls to restrict access to higher risk areas or equipment, e.g. isolating machinery or limiting swipe card access;

      Control - develop documented safe systems of work for lone working activities including providing the necessary equipment required to maintain regular communication with others when in a lone working situation e.g. implementing Permit to Work systems, monitoring procedures, CCTV or providing mobile phones, personal alarms and motion sensor alarms.

    • What happens if I’m a Lone Worker and become ill, have an accident or there is an emergency?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

      The Lone Working Risk Assessment should identify foreseeable events, emergency procedures should be established and employees trained in them. Information regarding emergency procedures should be given to lone workers.

      The Lone Working risk assessment may indicate that mobile workers should carry first-aid kits and/or that lone workers may require first-aid training, all employees should also have access to adequate first-aid facilities.

    • What things do I need to think about when undertaking a Lone Working Risk Assessment?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

      The following points should be considered when undertaking a lone working risk assessment:

      • Does the specific work environment present a special risk to the lone worker?
      • Can one person adequately control the risks of the job?
      • Is the person medically fit to work alone?
      • What training is required to make sure the staff member is competent in safety matters?
      • Have staff received the training which is necessary to allow them to work alone?
      • How will the staff member be supervised?
      • Is there a risk of violence?
      • Are people of a particular gender especially at risk if they work alone?
      • Are new or inexperienced staff especially at risk if they work alone?
      • What happens if a lone worker becomes ill, has an accident or if there’s an emergency?
      • Are there safe systems in place for contacting and tracing those who work alone?
      • Are staff empowered to make informed decisions as to whether it is safe to continue when the circumstances, situation or conditions have significantly changed e.g. decision to drive in poor weather particularly during police warnings.
    • Who is classed as a Lone Worker?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

      Lone Workers are defined by the Health and Safety Executive as those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision. This doesn’t mean that the worker is physically alone, it means they are in a separate location to the rest of their team or Line Manager. Some workers may be alone such as fixed location workers, however, many work with the general public.

      Examples of potential lone working situations in NSS could be –

       - Employees, particularly those who mainly work outwith normal working hours;

       - Laboratory staff undertaking duties in a separate lab isolated from the main lab;

       - Maintenance staff, including contractors who have to access and work in plant room areas & roof spaces etc;

       - Shift workers and on-call staff, staff travelling to other sites on public transport;

       - Home workers or those staff who are required to make home visits to the public;

       - Warehouse/Stores staff who may on occasion find themselves isolated from others;

       - Apheresis/Donor staff who may on occasion find themselves isolated from others;

       - Dental Officers and Nurses in some cases;

       - Investigating Officers out in the field;

       - Professional drivers and those other staff who drive for work e.g. lease car users etc;

      The list above is not exclusive and Line Managers need to identify locally any particular lone working issues associated with the activities within their area of responsibility and decide on the appropriate level of controls required.

      Please note that a person ‘driving for work’ is someone who is either travelling between NSS sites or when their journey involves them leaving straight from home to visit a site at which they are not based, including that of the return journey. Subsequently an individual travelling from home to their normal place of work and that of the return journey is not deemed to be ‘driving for work’ and is therefore not considered under the conditions of this procedure.