Last reviewed 20 April 2020

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published updated guidance on protecting lone workers and managing the risks associated with working alone.

The fourth revision of INDG73: Protecting Lone Workers is aimed at anyone who employs lone workers, or engages them as contractors, etc including self-employed people or those who work alone.

The HSE notes that lone workers face the same hazards at work as anyone else but there is a greater risk of these hazards causing harm as they may not have anyone to help or support them if things go wrong.

Therefore, employers need to provide training, supervision, monitoring and support for lone workers.

The HSE simply describes a lone worker as “someone who works by themselves without close or direct supervision”. They exist in all sectors and include those who:

  • work alone at a fixed base, eg in shops, petrol stations, factories, warehouses or leisure centres

  • work separately from other people on the same premises or outside normal working hours, eg security staff, cleaners, maintenance and repair staff

  • work at home

  • work away from a fixed base — this could include health, medical and social care workers visiting people’s homes as well as workers involved in construction, maintenance and repair (eg engineers) but also service workers (eg postal staff and taxi drivers) and delivery drivers (such as couriers or HGV drivers) or agricultural or forestry workers

  • are volunteers carrying out work on their own for charities or voluntary organisations (eg fundraising or litter-picking for example).

The updated guidance contains:

  • a new section on how to protect lone workers from the risk of work-related violence

  • more information on how managers should keep in touch with lone workers

  • new advice on the impact lone working can have on stress, mental health and wellbeing.

The leaflet INDG73: Protecting Lone Workers is also supported by lone working webpages which include advice aimed at lone workers themselves.