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1.5 Lone Working


This policy deals with the way in which Nottinghamshire County Council Children’s Social Care Services manages Lone Working. It details the roles and responsibilities of different levels of personnel.


Lone Working Remote, Home Risk Assessment

Managing Actual and Potential Aggression


In January 2022, this chapter was updated with revised links in Section 5, Sources of Legislation and Guidance.


  1. Policy
  2. Policy Statement
  3. Definition
  4. Roles and Responsibilities
  5. Sources of Legislation and Guidance

1. Policy

This policy sets out the approach of Nottinghamshire County Council Children’s Social Care in managing Lone Working. Nottinghamshire County Council has a legal duty to look after the health, safety and welfare of its employees and this includes a duty of care to reduce, as far as reasonably practicable the risks associated with lone working within the workplace and when out in public in the course of work duties. These duties are set out in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Safety Representatives Safety Committee Regulations 1977.

2. Policy Statement

Nottinghamshire County Council is committed to the provision of a safe place of work for all employees, clients, visitors, contractors, volunteers and those affected by or involved in Council activities. We will ensure that lone workers are not exposed to additional or greater risk than any other workers. More specifically we will ensure that Lone workers are identified, hazards and risk are assessed and appropriate action is taken to reduce these risks.

3. Definition

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines lone workers as those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision. This can be spilt into two main groups:

  • People who work in fixed establishments e.g. site agents, home workers etc.;
  • Remote Workers working away from fixed base e.g. drivers, healthcare professionals, social workers, public protection etc.

There is no general legal prohibition on lone working, however the employer must identify the hazards, assess the risks involved, and put measures in place to avoid or control the risks. If the risk assessment shows that it is not possible for the work to be done safely by a lone worker, then other arrangements need to be put in place.

Classification of Lone Workers

Category 1 - Lower risk situations include:
  • Staff working outside normal hours in an office, library or similar e.g. cleaners, caretakers, security staff;
  • Staff who travel alone for significant periods or in circumstances that may give rise to additional risks.

Category 2 - Medium risk situations include:

  • Use of receptions, counters and interview rooms, and similar where risk of violence and aggression or dangerous situation is reasonably foreseeable and where colleagues cannot be readily called on in the event of an adverse situation arising.

Category 3 - High risk situations include:

  • Visiting domestic and commercial premises where risk of violence and aggression or dangerous situation is reasonably foreseeable;
  • Working out of hours (not in a controlled council facility);
  • Working alone with hazardous plant, tools, equipment or chemicals;
  • Where serious injury may be incurred by the type of work being carried out.

4. Roles and Responsibilities

Each Service Area is responsible for implementing arrangements to ensure lone working is effectively managed and that all employees are made aware of this policy statement and accompanying guidance.

Caption: Roles and Responsibilities
Subject: Lone Working
Service Directors Responsibilities Head of Service Responsibilities Managers / Supervisors Responsibilities Employees Responsibilities
Ensuring sufficient resources are made available for the identification and protection of lone workers Identify any posts that undertake lone working Ensure that duty of care remains a shared responsibility between worker and employee, identifying lone workers and hazards by completing a lone working hazard checklist for staff or a work team Ensure that duty of care remains a shared responsibility between worker and employee and take reasonable care of themselves and others affected by their actions
Putting in place suitable lone working protection systems for all activities within their areas To carry out a lone working risk assessment for employees or work team. Risk assessments to be reviewed at a minimum annually To assist their manager in completing a lone working hazard checklist
Ensure that lone working risk assessments are undertaken To implement suitable control measures as identified in risk assessment Following guidance and procedures designed for safe working
Ensuring all staff receive relevant training to ensure competency in safety matters To monitor lone working protection systems Reporting all incidents that may affect the health and safety of themselves or others
Ensure lone workers are not put at more risk than other employees Ensure that any accident, hazard and violent incidents are reported and any control measures identified are implemented Taking part in training designed to meet the requirements of the policy
  Ensure all staff receives training in dynamic risk assessment and ‘Plan B’ exit strategies. Ensuring that identified lone working staff attend relevant training Reporting any dangers or potential dangers they identify, or any concerns they might have in respect of working alone
Ensure that employees, agency and voluntary workers, during their induction period, have adequate additional controls in place
Ensure procedures are in place in an emergency and that adequate support mechanisms are in place when staff off site

If the risk assessment indicates a reliance protect lone working, devices may support lone workers as they go about their work the line manager should provide a device and ensure that this is registered, the worker should complete the required training and provide Reliance with a completed user profile form.

5. Sources of Legislation and Guidance

Further information available at: