Is working alone legal?
Working alone is not in itself against the law and it will often be safe to do so.
HSE health and safety guidance on the risks of lone working states that every employer holds the responsibility to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees. While there are few pieces of legislation that focus specifically on lone working rules, the duty of care remains the same as with other employees.
Under most lone working regulations around the world, the employer’s responsibility includes;
- Conducting thorough lone worker risk assessments
- Producing a written health and safety policy and ensuring all employees understand it
- Taking steps to reduce or eliminate risk in order to create a safe working environment
- Providing information, instruction, lone worker training and supervision where appropriate
- Regularly reviewing and improving upon lone worker risk assessments and policies
Failure to comply with health and safety legislation is likely to lead to;
- Large fines reaching as high as millions
- Additional costs associated with compensation, resources and legal costs
- Lost reputation and ultimately, business
- Stop work orders
- Imprisonment of the individuals found responsible
Why are these policies in place?
Issuing lone working guidance is important to ensure businesses take the safety of all staff seriously, no matter where they are based.
Lone working poses specific risks and health and safety law reflects this. Since the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and harsher sanctions for breaching the legislation have been in place staff have reported feeling safer at work. There has also been a shift in recent years towards prioritising employee well-being which, whilst not a legal requirement, can have a positive effect on employee engagement, motivation and retention.
Find out what legislation around the world says about lone working.
- Guide To Lone Working
- What is a lone worker?
- Lone worker risks & hazards
- Is working alone legal?
- Lone worker risk assessment
- Developing your lone worker policy