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Lone Working

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Who are Lone Workers?

Lone Workers are those people who work alone, without close or direct supervision. Any person that works alone, including Employees who work alone, Self-Employed people and Contractors are categorised as lone workers. 

Lone Workers can include:

  • People who work outside of normal working hours – Including for example security officers, maintenance and repair staff and cleaners
  • People who work separately from other people
  • People who are Service Workers – For example, postal staff, social workers, district nurses, drivers, sales representatives and similar professionals who visit commercial and domestic premises in the course of their work
  • People who work away from their fixed place of work – For example, construction workers, people who carry out repairs, people who carry out vehicle recovery
Are people legally allowed to work alone?

Yes, people are legally allowed to work alone. However  Section 19 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 provides that every Employer shall identify the hazards in the place of work under his or her control, assess the risks presented by those hazards and be in possession of a written assessment (to be known and referred to in this Act as a “risk assessment”) of the risks to the safety, health and welfare at work of his or her Employees, including the safety, health and welfare of any single Employee or group or groups of Employees who may be exposed to any unusual or other risks under the relevant statutory provisions. 

There is therefore an obligation on Employers to carry out a risk assessment in order to assess whether an Employee may be at a significantly higher risk when they are working alone. However, there may be legislation in certain sectors which Employers must be aware of in relation to lone working, for example supervision of diving operations or where vehicles are carrying explosives.