Lone and out of hours activity
There are many situations both within the University, and elsewhere, where individuals routinely work or study alone. Only in a very small number of high risk situations is such activity expressly prohibited by law (e.g. confined space entry and work on some high voltage electrical equipment) but in all cases suitable arrangements, including risk assessments, must be put in place to minimise the risk and to ensure that appropriate emergency help can be obtained.
Where lone activities are allowed, the Head of Unit, or person authorising the activity, must ensure that the foreseeable risks have been identified and that appropriate arrangements are in place to manage these. This may include limiting the type of activity that can be undertaken, or adopting additional safety precautions and ensuring that effective emergency arrangements are in place.
To help managers plan lone activities safely the University has devloped a Lone Activities Procedure which can be viewed at the link below.
These arrangements do not apply to those who are working alone merely because they are homeworking, provided that they are engaged only in typical low-risk office and IT work.
However, where work done at home involves higher-risk activities of a type that would not normally be done within a domestic environment a full assessment or the risks, including any risks that may be higher because of the lone working aspect, does need to be completed and the control measures judged satisfactory before authorising the activity.) Likewise, an activity being conducted as a lone activity only requires an additional risk assessment where any of the usual risks already identified in the risk assessment for the activity are deemed to be higher solely because it is happening as a lone activity. For this reason, the risk assessment template only covers some common example situations where this is likely to be the case. See our Homeworking webpage.
A template generic Lone Activity Risk Assessment is also availble and can be edited and amended where required to help with preparing risk assessments for lone activities. The template is available here as an editable Microsoft Word document.
If working or studying in areas at time when the building is closed the Out of Hours Procedure should be followed.
HSE advice on lone working can be found here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/lone-working/