Lone working policy

Lone working policy

Lone Working Policy

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that there are adequate systems in place to ensure the health, safety and welfare of lone workers in order to reduce the risks of lone working as far as is reasonably possible and practicable.

A lone worker is anyone who works in isolation without close or direct supervision.

Examples include:

  • Community development workers who are out in the community
  • Befriending Coordinators visiting people on a 1:1 basis
  • Volunteers out in the community i.e. befriending.

This Policy applies to all volunteers of Good Neighbours, and includes any agency, or visiting professionals employed to provide services on their behalf.

Policy aims

The aim of this policy is to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, volunteers who work alone are not exposed to risks to their health and safety and to outline the steps to reduce and improve personal safety to volunteers who work alone.

The policy also aims through its rollout to raise awareness of safety issues relating to lone working.


The objectives of this policy are to ensure:

  • Lone working during volunteering is identified.
  • Risks inherent in lone worker situations are assessed and suitable precautionary measures taken
  • There is a local safe system of work which:
    • records the whereabouts of lone working volunteers
    • tracks the movement of lone working volunteers
    • follows an agreed system for locating volunteers who deviate from their expected movement pattern
    • Identifies when lone working is no longer appropriate for volunteers

Legal requirements

Applicable laws:

WVA has an obligation under the Health and Safety at Work Act, to ensure the Health, Safety and Welfare of their employees and Volunteers. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations places a duty on employers, to identify significant risks within the organisation and implement suitable risk treatments, to reduce those risks so far as is reasonably practicable.

Personal responsibility

Volunteers are required to take reasonable care for the health and safety of themselves and of other persons who may be affected by their acts whilst volunteering. This policy and supporting training should ensure that such persons do not take short cuts or employ dangerous practices but that they are instructed to consider and identify potential hazards and to implement a form of risk assessment to ensure the safety of themselves and any other persons they may be volunteering with.

Working outside normal hours

Good Neighbours volunteers may wish to volunteer outside of WVA operating hours, which are Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Where a volunteer is required or requests to work after normal working hours and alone, e.g. Saturday morning, it is necessary to identify the degree of risk in assessing whether or not this is a safe practice. A member of the Good Neighbours team must make a “suitable and sufficient” assessment of any risks to the health and safety of their volunteers. Any such risks identified are likely to be greater for lone workers. These findings must be recorded on the risk assessment documents.

Risk assessment

Risk assessment is the overall process of performing a systematic written risk analysis and risk evaluation in order to identify methods to control the severity of the risk.

Risks to be assessed during the process include:

  • Violence and Aggression.
  • Isolated areas
  • Sudden illness
  • Building condition
  • Substances Hazardous to Health
  • Animals
  • Vehicle breakdowns
  • Weather hazards

This list is not exhaustive and other risks may be identified during the assessment process.

Safe System of Work

This is a method of working which addresses risks that cannot be controlled in any other way. Safe systems of work are dynamic systems, which mean they should be constantly monitored to identify weakness and improve methods of controlling the risk.

Usually, systems of work should be designed to reduce the need for lone working where possible. With volunteering in this role, however, it is usual that a volunteer will be working alone with the beneficiary.

Organisational responsibilities

Responsibilities for the health and safety of lone workers are allocated as follows:


Good Neighbours Project Officer(s) (supported by the WVA Chief Officer):

  • Ensure lone working within the organisation is adhered to under the health and safety policy.
  • Maintain a log of the locations of volunteers considered to be lone workers
  • Maintain contact with volunteers who work alone
  • Implement systems to identify those volunteers who do not report or return at the expected time.
  • Ensure systems are in place to take action to contact / locate volunteers who have failed to make contact or return at the expected time.
  • Raise the appropriate level of alert / alarm if volunteers cannot be contacted / located within 2 hour period after the expected time of contact or return.
  • If volunteers cannot be located, then contacting the police.
  • Monitoring feedback from the organisation on lone worker risk and seeking to improve processes.
  • Monitor and update this policy as appropriate.
  • If lone working is considered reasonable, then the Project Officer(s) must ensure that suitable precautions are in place, such as:
    • Mobile telephones
    • Giving information on known risks
    • Reporting in procedures
    • Personal alarms
    • Recording identified risks on the local risk register.
  • To ensure all volunteers that work alone are made aware of this policy.
  • To support volunteers who are victims of violence and aggression in line with the organisational policy.


  • Identify any activity carried out by them which will involve them working alone
  • Comply with any precautionary measures including guidelines laid down by the Project Officer(s) such as a “texting in”
  • Provide any of the following information that may be needed to set up a safe system of work:
    • Working alone at the beginning and end of the normal working hours
    • Daily out of base work place i.e. Diary sheets
    • Detail of the make, model, colour and registration number of the vehicle being used.
    • Notifying any changes to the daily out of base work plan on the Diary sheet (i.e. ad-hoc or “spur of the moment” visits).
    • Informing key person (“buddy”) on return to home.
  • Take reasonable care for their own safety and not expose themselves to unnecessary risk
  • Report to their managers any unsafe or potentially unsafe situations, and to report incidents in which violence or aggression or threats using the incident reporting procedure.
  • To attend any training provided.


The Gateway, 89 Sankey Street, Warrington, WA1 1SR Tel: 01925 246880
Registered in England & Wales as a Registered Charity 1129343
and as Company Limited by Guarantee No:6805818

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