Personal Safety and Lone Working Information

The following information is taken from the HSE website. Please follow the following link for further information.

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.
It will often be safe to work alone. However, the law requires employers to think about and deal with any health and safety risks before people are allowed to do so.
Things you could consider to help ensure lone workers are not put at risk include:
assessing areas of risk including violence, manual handling, the medical suitability of the individual to work alone and whether the workplace itself presents a risk to them
requirements for training, levels of experience and how best to monitor and supervise them
making sure you know what is happening, including having systems in place to keep in touch with them
Find out more

Working alone: Health and safety guidance on the risks of lone working (Leaflet INDG73)
Advice on personal security when working alone is also available from the Suzy Lamplugh TrustWorking alone Health and safety guidance on the risks of lone working

Introduction This leaflet provides guidance on how to keep lone workers healthy and safe. It is aimed at anyone who employs or engages lone workers, and also at self-employed people who work alone. Following the guidance in the leaflet is not compulsory, but it should help employers understand what they need to do to comply with their legal duties towards lone workers under: ■ the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974; ■ the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
Is it legal to work alone and is it safe? Working alone is not in itself against the law and it will often be safe to do so. However, the law requires employers to consider carefully, and then deal with, any health and safety risks for people working alone. Employers are responsible for the health, safety and welfare at work of all their workers. They also have responsibility for the health and safety of any contractors or self-employed people doing work for them. These responsibilities cannot be transferred to any other person, including those people who work alone. Workers have responsibilities to take reasonable care of themselves and other people affected by their work activities and to co-operate with their employers in meeting their legal obligations.
Who are lone workers and what jobs do they do? Lone workers are those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision, for example:
In fixed establishments ■ A person working alone in a small workshop, petrol station, kiosk or shop ■ People who work from home other than in low-risk, office-type work (separate guidance covers homeworkers doing low-risk work – see the end of the leaflet for details) ■ People working alone for long periods, eg in factories, warehouses, leisure centres or fairgrounds ■ People working on their own outside normal hours, eg cleaners and security, maintenance or repair staff

Working alone Health and safety guidance on the risks of lone working
This is a web-friendly version of leaflet INDG73(rev3), published 05/13
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As mobile workers working away from their fixed base ■ Workers involved in construction, maintenance and repair, plant installation and cleaning work ■ Agricultural and forestry workers ■ Service workers, including postal staff, social and medical workers, engineers, estate agents, and sales or service representatives visiting domestic and commercial premises

How must employers control the risks? Employers have a duty to assess risks to lone workers and take steps to avoid or control risks where necessary. This must include: ■ involving workers when considering potential risks and measures to control them; ■ taking steps to ensure risks are removed where possible, or putting in place control measures, eg carefully selecting work equipment to ensure the worker is able to perform the required tasks in safety; ■ instruction, training and supervision; ■ reviewing risk assessments periodically or when there has been a significant change in working practice.
This may include: ■ being aware that some tasks may be too difficult or dangerous to be carried out by an unaccompanied worker; ■ where a lone worker is working at another employer’s workplace, informing that other employer of the risks and the required control measures; ■ when a risk assessment shows it is not possible for the work to be conducted safely by a lone worker, addressing that risk by making arrangements to provide help or back-up.
Risk assessment should help employers decide on the right level of supervision. There are some high-risk activities where at least one other person may need to be present. Examples include: ■ working in a confined space, where a supervisor may need to be present, along with someone dedicated to the rescue role; ■ working at or near exposed live electricity conductors; ■ working in the health and social care sector dealing with unpredictable client behaviour and situations. Employers who have five or more employees must record the significant findings of all risk assessments. Employers also need to be aware of any specific law that prohibits lone working applying in their industry. Examples include supervision in diving operations, vehicles carrying explosives and fumigation work. Further information about controlling risks can be found on the HSE website at: Further sources of information are listed at the end of the leaflet.

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What must employers consult on? By law, employers must consult all their employees on health and safety matters.
Effective consultation will also help ensure that relevant hazards are identified, and appropriate and proportionate control measures are chosen.
You can find more advice on HSE’s website:
Which particular problems affect lone workers? Lone workers should not be put at more risk than other employees. Establishing a healthy and safe working environment for lone workers can be different from organising the health and safety of other employees. Some of the issues that need special attention when planning safe working arrangements are set out in the following pages, but your risk assessment process should identify the issues relevant to your circumstances.
Can one person adequately control the risks of the job? Employers should take account of normal work and foreseeable emergencies, eg fire, equipment failure, illness and accidents. Employers should identify situations where people work alone and consider the following: ■ Does the workplace present a specific risk to the lone worker, for example due to temporary access equipment, such as portable ladders or trestles that one person would have difficulty handling? ■ Is there a safe way in and out for one person, eg for a lone person working out of hours where the workplace could be locked up? ■ Is there machinery involved in the work that one person cannot operate safely? ■ Are chemicals or hazardous substances being used that may pose a particular risk to the lone worker? ■ Does the work involve lifting objects too large for one person? ■ Is there a risk of violence and/or aggression? ■ Are there any reasons why the individual might be more vulnerable than others and be particularly at risk if they work alone (for example if they are young, pregnant, disabled or a trainee)? ■ If the lone worker’s first language is not English, are suitable arrangements in place to ensure clear communications, especially in an emergency?
If a person has a medical condition, are they able to work alone? Employers should seek medical advice if necessary. Consider both routine work and foreseeable emergencies that may impose additional physical and mental burdens on an individual.
Why is training particularly important for lone workers? Training is particularly important where there is limited supervision to control, guide and help in uncertain situations. Training may also be crucial in enabling people to cope in unexpected circumstances and with potential exposure to violence and aggression.
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Lone workers are unable to ask more experienced colleagues for help, so extra training may be appropriate. They need to be sufficiently experienced and fully understand the risks and precautions involved in their work and the location that they work in.
Employers should set the limits to what can and cannot be done while working alone. They should ensure workers are competent to deal with the requirements of the job and are able to recognise when to seek advice from elsewhere.
How will the person be supervised? The extent of supervision required depends on the risks involved and the ability of the lone worker to identify and handle health and safety issues. The level of supervision needed is a management decision, which should be based on the findings of a risk assessment, ie the higher the risk, the greater the level of supervision required. It should not be left to individuals to decide whether they need assistance. Where a worker is new to a job, undergoing training, doing a job that presents specific risks, or dealing with new situations, it may be advisable for them to be accompanied when they first take up the post.

Monitoring Procedures must be put in place to monitor lone workers as effective means of communication are essential. These may include: ■ supervisors periodically visiting and observing people working alone; ■ pre-agreed intervals of regular contact between the lone worker and supervisor, using phones, radios or email, bearing in mind the worker’s understanding of English; ■ manually operated or automatic warning devices which trigger if specific signals are not received periodically from the lone worker, eg staff security systems; ■ implementing robust system to ensure a lone worker has returned to their base or home once their task is completed.

What happens if a person becomes ill, has an accident, or there is an emergency? Your assessment of the risks should identify foreseeable events. Emergency procedures should be established and employees trained in them.
Information regarding emergency procedures should be given to lone workers. Your risk assessment may indicate that mobile workers should carry first-aid kits and/or that lone workers need first-aid training. They should also have access to adequate first-aid facilities.

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Find out more Homeworkers: Guidance for employers on health and safety Leaflet INDG226(rev1) HSE Books 2011 Manual handling. Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (as amended). Guidance on Regulations L23 (Third edition) HSE Books 2004 ISBN 978 0 7176 2823 0 Violence at work: A guide for employers Leaflet INDG69(rev) HSE Books 1996 Managing work-related violence in licensed and retail premises Leaflet INDG423 HSE Books 2008 Working with substances hazardous to health: A brief guide to COSHH Leaflet INDG136(rev5) HSE Books 2012 Working at height:
Other sources of advice: You may be able to get additional information from your trade association or employers’ organisation, or from trade unions and some charities, eg the Suzy Lamplugh Trust.

Further information For information about health and safety, or to report inconsistencies or inaccuracies in this guidance, visit You can view HSE guidance online and order priced publications from the website. HSE priced publications are also available from bookshops. This guidance is issued by the Health and Safety Executive. Following the guidance is not compulsory, unless specifically stated, and you are free to take other action. But if you do follow the guidance you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law. Health and safety inspectors seek to secure compliance with the law and may refer to this guidance. This leaflet is available at: © Crown copyright If you wish to reuse this information visit

Suzy’s story
On the last Monday of July 1986, in broad daylight and in the middle of a working day, the unthinkable happened. Suzy Lamplugh, a 25-year-old, disappeared during the course of her work as an estate agent while showing a client round a house in Fulham.
Speaking at the time, the late Diana Lamplugh vividly recalled the phone call she received from Suzy’s manager. He said:
‘‘Do you have any idea where your daughter might be, Mrs Lamplugh? We wondered whether she could have called into home for lunch. I don’t want to worry you, Mrs Lamplugh …. but Susannah left to show a house to a client just before lunch and she has not returned. We just wanted to check anywhere we could.’”
Diana recalled that it was so unlike Suzy, who usually stuck to the rules and regulations – something must have gone wrong.
At 12.40pm on 28th July, Suzy had left her office – Sturgis and Sons, 654 Fulham Road – taking her house and car keys and a purse with £15 and credit cards, but leaving her handbag behind. 10 minutes later she was seen waiting outside an empty property, 37 Shorrald’s Road, which had only been on the market for one week. At 1.00pm, she was joined by a man (presumably the “Mr Kipper” she had written in her diary) and minutes later they were seen walking away from the house. At 6.45pm, her manager reported Suzy’s disappearance to the police.

Diana’s reaction was similar to many people facing a crisis. “My initial reaction of frozen shock gave way to a flood of adrenalin which shot me into overdrive. We must find her; physically all that energy must be directed into action. My husband and I went down to the river where her car had been abandoned. We called, we shouted, we encouraged our dogs to search for her. We must have been disturbing the neighbourhood but, more than that, as the police who were there made clear, we were getting in the way.”

Suzy’s company car was discovered by the police about a mile from her office in Stevenage Road, Fulham just after 10.00pm. There were no signs of a struggle – no fingerprints unaccounted for. The driver’s door was unlocked, the handbrake off and her purse was in the glove compartment, but her keys were missing.

The following day, 29th July, there was an article in the London Evening Standard headed “Kidnap fears for estate agent’s girl”. Scotland Yard reported there was grave concern for her safety.

Wednesday 30th July was Diana’s 50th birthday and the Lamplughs’ home in south-west London was besieged by journalists. Diana welcomed the media as a way of finding Suzy.

On the Thursday, Diana and her husband, Paul, appeared twice on television – on BBC’s Breakfast Time and TV-AM’s Good Morning Britain. Diana articulated her fears: “I feel she is shut up somewhere, that she is being held against her will. I feel that because she hasn’t contacted us. She is a very strong, very fit lady …. So she should be able to cope with most situations.”

As the media interest was building up, sacks of letters were being delivered to the Lamplugh home. Some were from friends who were praying for them. “It seems so particularly unjust a thing to happen to a family which has always shown care and love for others, especially in their distress.” Others were from strangers who had met Suzy. “Suzy bought my green Renault off me and she struck my husband and I as a smashing girl.”

A few days after Suzy went missing, Diana showed a journalist the piles of letters. “I think we’ve heard from the entire Townswomen’s Guild …. It’s something everyone can relate to, and a lot of them said they felt almost as if it had happened to them.”

On 4th August, a week after Suzy disappeared, Diana confided on BBC TV’s London Plus that she was beginning to realise that her daughter might be dead. “I can face up to the fact that she has died. But I cannot face up to what has happened between. That’s too much.” Paul has explained since that Suzy suffered from fear of being in a closed space – she had once panicked in a cable car – they knew she would have been terrified to be shut in somewhere. They found it easier to believe she was dead than that she was still suffering.

Despite a police reconstruction and extensive media coverage during the press’ ‘silly season’, no information was forthcoming on Suzy’s fate. As Diana wrote five years later, “there has not been a single trace of her. Nothing. Just as though she has been erased by a rubber”.

Suzy’s body has never been found, but she has been presumed murdered and was legally declared dead in 1993.

Related topics: Suzy Lamplugh Trust story

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