During the risk assessment process, you should consider whether there are any parts of the activity which could leave workers having to work on their own. This could be due to the fact that the activity involves visiting other locations, or it could be that your activity could extend beyond the normal working day, or there are other hazards that could arise, where it would be a greater risk if there were more persons present; so it is agreed that the activity can be conducted 'out of hours'. The lone working activity itself does not need to be carried out as a separate risk assessment; it should be considered within your overall activity risk assessment.
Working on your own (“lone working”) can lead to increased risks to your health and safety, particularly if things go wrong. When buildings are not fully occupied, there may not be someone in the vicinity who you can call on for help, For this reason, you must have additional measures in place to protect you from this risk.
Lone working is only allowed for activities which have been defined by risk assessment to be 'Low Risk'.
All departments who have workers who need to carry out lone working activities, where these activities have been approved, either at departmental level, or during Covid, by the University Executive Board (being considered 'critical' during the pandemic) need to put a buddy system in place. A model 'Standard Operating Procedure' (SOP) has been prepared which sets out the minimum requirements for those who have been given permission to carry out work that involves lone working. Whilst this SOP was developed to support the Covid-19 arrangements, it can be readily adapted for use.
Should your work involve research out in the community, please refer instead to the Community Based Research webpage as this refers to the Social Research Association's (SRA) Code of Practice 'Safety for Social Researchers'.
Standard Operating Procedure whilst this SOP was developed specifically to support the Covid-19 arrangements, it can be adapted for normal use.
For Social Researchers engaged in research out in the field, refer to our Community Based Research webpages. There is also a generic risk assessment that may be relevant to you from the Social Sciences Generic Risk Assessment webpages
See also Personal Safety & Security
Health and Safety Executive: Lone Working: Protect those working alone