Lone working and one-to-ones

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Health and safety
02 May 2017
Many educational professionals work alone as part of their everyday working lives. However, this can place you in a vulnerable position; it may be more difficult to summon help if you have an accident or fall ill, or you may be more exposed to violence or abuse at work.

Regardless of the reason, ATL believes none of its members should be more at risk in their jobs than other workers just because they are required to work on their own.

All organisations with staff that may be expected to work with children and vulnerable adults on a one-to-one basis should provide clear guidance. Employers owe their staff a duty of care and, mindful of this, should strive to minimise any risk to staff’s health and safety. There is also potential for staff to be accused of inappropriate behaviour in one-to-one situations. It is therefore essential that all reasonable precautions have been taken.

What is lone working?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines lone working as “those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision”. From this it can be seen that lone working falls into three broad categories:

  • those who work alone on site
  • those who work away from base
  • homeworkers.

You can find out more about lone working in our publications: 

Or download our model lone working risk assessment checklist.

If you are concerned about any aspect of working alone and need more information and advice then ATL has a team of member advisers on hand to help with any queries you may have. They can also refer you to a representative should you need assistance with your employer.