Who can work alone?
Can someone with medical conditions work alone?
You will need to consider employee medical conditions as part of your risk assessment and ensure there are procedures in place to protect them.
Lone working HSE policy recommends that employers should seek medical advice for specific employees if necessary. You should consider both routine work and foreseeable emergencies that may impose additional physical and mental burdens on an individual.
When is lone working not allowed?
Working alone in itself is not against the law and it is often safe to do so. However, if it is safe for your employees to work alone safely should be based on your own risk assessments.
Certain situations can put lone workers more at risk than others and in some circumstances, it may be better to not allow lone working at all. For example, some NHS mental health workers must work in pairs at all times when visiting certain patients as it has been deemed unsafe to go alone. It is down to you to ensure that you have undertaken a through risk assessment and if you cannot sufficiently mitigate the issues raised, then allowing lone working could put you in breach of your duty of care.
We have explored this issue further in our blog when is lone working not ok?
Supervising lone workers
Employers who deal with lone working employees should ensure that they maintain regular contact and have a way to call for help in an uncomfortable or emergency situation. Lone working solutions, including apps and wearable technology can ensure that these requirements are met by providing lone working staff with a means to contact their employer, check in safely and raise the alarm in an emergency.
You should also consider whether;
- automatic warnings can be activated if specific signals are not received at base
- other warnings are availabe that raise the alarm in the event of an emergency
- you are able to check that the lone worker has returned to base, or home, on completion of the work
Read our guide Employer vs. employee: where does H&S responsibility lie?