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This Lone Working Policy template covers:
what a lone worker is
the unique health and safety considerations that lone workers may face
employees’ and employers’ responsibilities related to lone working
risk assessment procedures
health and safety incident reporting procedures
your business’ training, supervision and communication procedures related to lone working
your business’ arrangements for expenses, equipment and materials related to lone working
security and insurance requirements and coverage for lone workers
If there is any possibility that somebody you engage may, at some point, be a lone worker, you should have a Lone Working Policy in place. This includes situations which are not immediately obvious as lone working situations. For example, if you have contracted cleaners who may be in an area of your business premises alone whilst working, even if their colleagues are elsewhere on the premises.
Having a Lone Working Policy in place allows your business to be clear on how it will meet its vital health and safety obligations towards its lone workers. It also clearly sets out your arrangements regarding expenses and other issues that lone working may bring up. The Policy gives you a clear, reliable way to communicate these things to your workers.
A lone worker is somebody who, at some point in time, works by themselves without close or direct supervision or support from colleagues. This means that they are physically isolated from their colleagues. This includes (but is not limited to) people who:
work from home
make calls alone to clients’ homes or to clients’ commercial premises to work (eg electricians or carers)
drive alone while working (eg delivery drivers)
work separately from others within a larger premises, including within their employer’s own premises (eg cleaners, night receptionists or security staff)
operate premises alone (eg petrol station attendants)
work alone in other remote locations (eg volunteers planting trees in a forest)
The term ‘lone worker’ includes employees, temporary workers, contractors/consultants, volunteers, freelancers and self-employed individuals who are working or volunteering for an organisation.
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 impose a duty on employers to care for the health and safety of their workers while they are working. This includes all lone workers, including people working from home.
As part of this duty, employers must conduct risk assessments. They must act on the assessments’ outcomes, for example, by avoiding or controlling risks. If you have 5 or more employees, you must write down the significant findings of your risk assessments. Employers aren’t required to perform a separate risk assessment for lone workers, but they must consider health and safety risks for all employees, which means they must consider the risks associated specifically with lone working. Conducting separate risk assessments for lone workers can be an effective way of achieving this.
Employees have a corresponding duty under health and safety law to care for their own health and safety while at work, and for that of others. They must also cooperate with their employer as the employer endeavours to meet their health and safety obligations.
For more information on these responsibilities, read Health and safety.
A risk assessment is a systematic examination of employees’ work activities, carried out to consider and evaluate the potential risks (or ‘hazards’) that their work poses to the health and safety of themselves, their colleagues, and others (eg customers or members of the general public). A risk assessment should:
identify the risks to employees’ and others’ health and safety
evaluate the risks in relation to what is already done to reduce these risks (eg by considering how likely each is to occur and how serious the outcomes of it occurring may be)
decide on strategies for tackling the risks (eg by eliminating, minimising, isolating or otherwise controlling them)
put these strategies into practice and evaluate their effectiveness
It is an employer’s responsibility to carry out risk assessments, although employers should involve the relevant employee(s) and should take their input into account. The responsibility is often delegated to a Health and Safety Officer (ie the person who holds day-to-day responsibility for health and safety matters on behalf of the employer) or another person, for example, the HR manager.
Making a Lone Working Policy online is simple. Just answer a few questions and Rocket Lawyer will build your document for you. When you have all of the details prepared in advance, making your document is a quick and easy process.
To make your Lone Working Policy you will need the following information:
What is the employer's name?
Which employment policies are already in place? Can they be accessed online?
If a health and safety policy is in place, does it appoint someone with day-to-day responsibility for health and safety and/or a party that holds overall responsibility for health and safety matters?
If it appoints someone with day-to-day responsibility for health and safety (ie a Health and Safety Officer), who is it?
If it appoints a party that holds overall responsibility for health and safety matters, who does overall responsibility for health and safety lie with?
Who is responsible for carrying out risk assessments?
Risks and incidents
Do your lone workers face any specific risks?
How should lone workers report any health and safety incidents?
Will lone workers be provided with any support that they reasonably require after an incident?
Training and supervision
What training will lone workers be given?
Are there any specific communication or supervision procedures for lone workers?
If a worker chooses to be a lone worker, will the employer cover:
Any reasonable costs associated with them being a lone worker?
Any reasonable costs associated with them being a lone worker, up to a specified maximum amount? If so, what is the maximum amount that will be paid towards expenses? Or
None of the costs associated with being a lone worker (unless an exception is negotiated)?
If expenses will be paid, will this Policy specify which expenses may be covered?
If so, what expenses will be covered?
Will this Policy specify additional security measures that lone workers should take? If so, what are they?
A Lone Working Policy provides guidance for lone workers and ensures that employers are committed to promoting the safety and well-being of such lone workers. As a result, this Lone Working Policy includes the following provisions:
Statement and purpose of policy
This section provides a brief overview of the Lone Working Policy and why it is being adopted. It also highlights the fact that the Lone Working Policy can be amended by the employer at their discretion.
Definition of a lone worker
This section clearly defines what a lone worker is for the purposes of the Lone Working Policy.
The employees’ responsibilities
This section sets out an employee’s specific obligations and responsibilities when working as a lone worker. This includes, but is not limited to:
familiarising themselves with all exits and alarms that may be used if an incident occurs in their workplace
working with the employer to complete risk assessments for situations in which they are lone working
complying with the employer’s general health and safety procedures, as set out in any Health and safety policy
The employer’s responsibilities
This section sets out the employer’s specific obligations and responsibilities with regard to any lone workers. This includes, but is not limited to:
fulfilling all legal obligations and responsibilities owed to lone workers
complying with relevant health and safety obligations
maintaining all premises as well as possible to ensure that they are safe
Health and safety considerations
This section details specific health and safety considerations that apply to lone workers, which employers must consider.
This section sets out what risk assessments are, why they are important and when they must be carried out.
Health and safety incidents
This section details how any health and safety incidents (including near misses) should be reported. It also details how lone workers should handle health and safety incidents while working on their own.
This section sets out what additional training will be provided to enable staff to safely work as lone workers.
Supervision and communication
This section provides details of the level of supervision lone workers will be under, especially when they first start working on their own. It also details how any concerns or complaints regarding a lone worker’s supervisor should be raised.
Equipment and materials
This section sets out how any equipment and materials required to protect lone workers’ health and safety will be provided. It also explains how employees must handle any equipment and materials provided for lone working.
This section sets out what expenses the employer will cover in relation to lone workers who choose to work on their own. It also clarifies that the employer will cover all necessary costs related to lone workers who are required to work on their own.
This section sets out that employees are responsible for ensuring the security of all equipment, documents and information and provides guidelines on how to do this.
This section sets out that lone workers will be covered by the employer’s insurance policies whilst lone working. If the employer has a Working from home policy in place, this section directs staff to that policy for more details on home and contents when working from home.
Review and further information
This section sets out that the Lone Working Policy will be regularly reviewed. It also details how employees should raise health and safety concerns and where copies of other employment policies can be found.
If you want your Lone Working Policy to include further or more detailed provisions, you can edit your document. However, if you do this, you may want a lawyer to review or change the Lone Working Policy for you, to make sure it complies with all relevant laws and meets your specific needs. Ask a lawyer for assistance.
Determine what other policies you should have in place
This Lone Working Policy is supported by, and touches on issues which are usually covered within, other employment policies. For instance:
a Health and safety policy - this policy covers risk assessment, incident reporting and other general health and safety considerations that are relevant to the Lone Working Policy
a Working from home policy - if you have employees who work from home (ie a specific type of lone worker). This policy sets out detailed provisions for this particular way of working
a Data protection and data security policy - which helps your business to meet its data protection compliance requirements. It can help you to ensure that lone workers do all they can to help you meet these requirements, even whilst working in less supervised and more unpredictable environments as a lone worker
For more information on the different types of policies you may wish to adopt, read HR policies and procedures.
Understand when to seek advice from a lawyer
Ask a lawyer for advice if:
you want to add specific provisions into your Lone Working Policy, for example, provisions on insurance or equipment costs for lone workers
you employ lone workers in a highly regulated sector, such as healthcare
your lone workers travel outside of the UK