Lone working - general information

College policy on lone working

It is Imperial College London policy to ensure that all lone working is avoided where possible.

Lone working is working in physical isolation, e.g. as the sole occupant of a laboratory or where no other person is in the vicinity, i.e. within earshot. It is possible for a worker to be on the same floor of a building or even in the same general area as others, yet be working alone.

Lone working can occur at any time.

Chemical, electrical, mechanical and biological laboratories are potentially dangerous places for lone working.

Penalties for non-compliance: If local lone and late working procedures are not followed individuals may have lone and/or late working privileges rescinded.

Research students

Lone working out of hours is to be avoided if at all possible and is only permitted after completion of a written risk assessment.

It must be ensured that your co-workers and supervisor are aware of each instance of lone working.

Students must provide contact numbers and inform colleagues and supervisor of the time they expect to finish.

Lone workers must be familiar with the arrangements for fire, first aid, spillage, power failure and other emergencies.

Research staff and academic staff

Principal investigators are responsible for:

  • Carrying out risk assessments or, if they delegate this duty, ensuring that the person carrying out the risk assessment is competent to do so.
  • Ensuring that any identified control measures are implemented, validated and monitored.
  • Establishing a protocol for emergency contacts.
  • Ensuring that other local arrangements, including adequate measures to deal with fire, first aid, spillages, power failures and other emergencies, are in place, especially for secure areas.
  • Ensuring that the lone worker is competent in the work and any relevant control measures and emergency procedures.
  • Requesting permission in writing from the Head of Department for the lone working to be approved.
  • If lone working is a regular occurrence, monitoring the individual by occasionally visiting him or her during the work, reviewing the work, ensuring the scope of the agreed work is not exceeded and checking that the risk assessment remains valid.

Lone working - specific information

College lone working policy

Departmental contacts

Useful information

HSE lone working advice