Who can work alone?
Can someone with medical conditions work alone?
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 have regular contact by radio, telephone or mobile phone
- automatic warnings should be activated if specific signals are not received at base
- other warnings that raise the alarm in the event of an emergency should be devised
- the lone worker has returned to base, or home, on completion of the work
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.
Read our guide Employer vs. employee: where does H&S responsibility lie?