The law and lone-working

The law defines a lone worker as someone who works by themselves without close or direct supervision. This does not have to be constantly but at any time where they are working on their own. Businesses are still responsible for assessing and minimising risks whenever a person is working independently, anywhere. Even if it’s working with other people, outside of the company.


Health & Safety at work act

Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 places a legal responsibility on employers to

  • prepare a written health and safety policy and bring it to the attention of employees
  • provide safe systems of work
  • provide a safe working environment for employees
  • provide information, instruction training and supervision

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, made under the Health and Safety at Work Act, are more specific and explicit to employers.


ACAS definition (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service)

ACAS describe the Duty of Care as follows

“Employers have a duty of care to their employees, which means that they should take all steps which are reasonably possible to ensure their health, safety and wellbeing. Demonstrating concern for the physical and mental health of your workers shouldn’t just be seen as a legal duty – there’s a clear business case, too. It can be a key factor in building trust and reinforcing your commitment to your employees, and can help improve staff retention, boost productivity and pave the way for greater employee engagement.”

“Legally, employers must abide by relevant health & safety and employment law, as well as the common law duty of care. They also have a moral and ethical duty not to cause, or fail to prevent, physical or psychological injury, and must fulfil their responsibilities with regard to personal injury and negligence claims.”