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Roles and responsibilities

The responsibility for ensuring safe systems of work are implemented for lone working lies with the person who manages the work. This responsibility cannot be delegated to the lone worker although they will ultimately be the person implementing it.

Head of faculty / service responsibilities

  • Ensure compliance with University standards within their faculty or service
  • Ensure that sufficient resources are allocated to allow implementation of appropriate systems of work and emergency procedures as identified in any lone working risk assessment


Head of school / service responsibilities

  • Deciding and setting local policy, codes of practice, operating procedures etc. in the areas they control in order to meet the standard
  • Set the normal working hours and building access periods for their school or service
  • Grant, prohibit or rescind permission to those planning to engage in lone working activities
  • Ensure that systems are in place to identify and control the risks, as far as is reasonably practicable, from lone working for all of their employees, students, visitors and contractors
  • Ensure that information about relevant hazards and related emergency procedures is given to employees, students, visitors and contractors undertaking lone working
  • Reviewing the arrangements periodically
  • Taking appropriate action when non-compliance is brought to their attention


Line managers’ responsibilities

Line managers, including principal investigators, laboratory managers, maintenance team leaders etc. are responsible for:

  • Carrying out risk assessments or ensuring the person carrying out the risk assessment is competent if they delegate this responsibility.
  • Ensuring that the least hazardous procedures are used
  • Ensuring that any identified control measures are implemented, validated and monitored
  • Ensuring that people under their control are competent to carry out designated tasks. Where an individual does not have the necessary competence, ensuring they are suitably supervised or prohibited from areas or tasks beyond their capabilities.
  • Ensuring employees or visitors under their control are provided with suitable and sufficient information, training, instruction and supervision
  • 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
  • Seeking approval in writing from the head of school or service for the lone working activities
  • Taking appropriate action when non-compliance is brought to their attention
  • If lone working is a regular occurrence, monitoring the individual by:
    > Visiting during the work,
    > Reviewing the work,
    > Ensuring the scope of the agreed work is not exceeded and
    > Checking that the risk assessment remains valid


Employees’ responsibilities

  • Taking reasonable care while at work for their own health and safety and for that of people who may be affected by their acts or omissions
  • Maintaining their competence for their work
  • Cooperating with their employer in order to enable the University to fulfil its legal duties
  • Where an employee is in a situation that may be considered as lone working, they must ensure their line manager is aware of the circumstances at the earliest opportunity. The employee must then assist in the process of identifying steps to prevent the lone worker situation from arising. If this is not possible, they should help in developing precautions to ensure their own safety.
  • Not to misuse safety equipment or safe systems of work provided by the University
  • Ensuring that they have obtained permission for lone working from their head of school or service.
  • Ensuring that the identified control measures are implemented.
  • Ensuring that they are familiar with the measures to deal with fire, first aid, spillages, power failures and other emergencies.
  • Adhering to agreed protocols for emergency contact, such as:
    > Providing a contact number to their line manager.
    > Informing their line manager, a work colleague or a friend of the time that he or she expects to leave the premises.
    > Filling out the building entry log book on starting work outside normal hours and upon leaving the building, where such a log book is present in a building.
  • Informing their line manager immediately if there are any problems or changes to arrangements.
  • Keeping within the scope of the agreed work and work areas.


Health and safety services / safety manager responsibilities

Health and safety services or safety managers will monitor arrangements and will assist by:

  • Helping with the identification and implementation of safe systems of work when requested.
  • Arrange the provision of training courses and advising on training needs.
  • Conduct audits
  • Providing specialist contribution for investigation of accidents and incidents.


Estate Services security

Security arrangements (building access and egress periods, core provision of security and first aid services, and security contact telephone numbers) may vary between buildings. The head of security is responsible for fire, panic alarm systems, some essential equipment (e.g. freezers…where this has been agreed):

  • Providing up to date information on local security arrangements to heads of schools or services.
  • Ensuring that they support heads of school or service to control access both during and outside normal working hours.
  • Providing an out of hours service for emergency response and general first aid requirements.
  • Informing heads of service or division of instances of non-compliance.