Lone working

The following Practice Management practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Lone working
  • What's the issue?
  • Responsibilities
  • Employers
  • Lone workers
  • Risk assessment
  • Protection
  • Prevention
  • Responding to an incident
  • Training
  • More...

Lone working

What's the issue?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines lone workers as people who work by themselves without close or direct supervision.

Examples include:

  1. people who work from home

  2. people who work away from a fixed base

  3. professionals visiting domestic and commercial premises

  4. people who work separately from others on the same premises (eg cleaners, security, maintenance and reception workers or people who work outside normal business hours)

Changing ways of working and greater use of technology are increasing the number of people who might be categorised as lone workers.

Employers are responsible for lone worker safety during working hours, whether they are in the office, in a vehicle, working from home or on a home visit.

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


By law, employers have specific responsibilities towards the safety of their employees, as do the employees themselves.


Employers have a duty to assess risks to lone workers and take steps to avoid or control risks where necessary—see: Risk assessment below. This must include:

  1. involving workers when considering potential risks and measures to control them

  2. taking steps to ensure risks are removed where possible, or putting in place control measures

  3. instruction, training and supervision

Lone workers

All workers have

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