Lone working and out of hours by 4KdI1P


									               Guidance Note: Lone working and out-of-hours work at the CSC

Lone working may be defined as an individual working out of earshot and line-of-sight of their
colleagues. This may not be intrinsically dangerous but depending on the time of day, location and task
in hand could represent a health and safety risk. The Management of Health and Safety at Work
Regulations (1999) require that such risk be avoided, or if not reasonably practicable, that control
measures be implemented to reduce the risk.

Most of us think of lone working and out-of-hours working as the same thing, however this is not
always the case. Mobile workers such as maintenance staff or IT support may spend periods of their
working day undertaking tasks in a lone working environment. Systems of work for these instances
should be arranged within the individual groups as appropriate.

The main purpose of this advice is to consider how lone and out-of-hours work is best managed within
the laboratory environment. We need to do so knowing that lone working cannot always be avoided,
indeed it can be a very important element of the productivity and continuity of research at CSC.
Laboratory based work that is outside of the core working day is not allowed for new or inexperienced
staff or students. This does not apply to office based activities.

Certain laboratory tasks cannot only be performed during the core/working weekday, which will be
considered as 0700 – 1900. This may be due to high demand on equipment items and facilities, such
that out-of-hours work is the only way to obtain results in reasonable timescales. Occasionally the lack
of interruption and distraction that comes with lone working is seen as the optimal way to raise
efficiency. This is also true of the option to work additional hours, when most other staff are absent.
However, work carried out outside normal core hours should not be simply as a consequence of poor
planning or undisciplined working arrangements.

The risk is higher in certain circumstances, possibly dependant on the nature of the task and/or
experience of the person. It is therefore necessary to consider this when allowing staff to work alone.
Also, certain tasks are mandated as never appropriate for a lone workers e.g. dispensing liquid
nitrogen from pressurised vessels.

It is consequently appropriate and necessary that existing risk assessments for tasks are reviewed, and
built on as necessary, where people are working alone.

The likely hazards to consider are:

       Substantial delay in obtaining assistance if injured or ill and unable to summon help. This could
        considerably increase the seriousness of the injury or illness.

       Aggravated consequences for incidents such as spills and releases of chemicals, biological
        agents or radioactive materials. In particular splashes to eyes when ready assistance is not

       Worsened impact for serious incidents, unrelated to the task in hand, such as fire and flood etc.,
        again due to lack of help and/or lack of usual supervisors actions.

       Increased chance of accident or illness because of fatigue; lack of live guidance and support;
        risk taking and/or poor practice due to lack of supervision.

The likelihood per se of these hazards being realised is low but it is most important that staff who are
allowed to work alone do know what the risk assessment for their tasks states, and that particular care
about emergency help has been discussed.

The supervisor or line manager remains responsible for the work of their staff, even when their staff
are working alone. You are advised that lone working should be authorised by you.

Please see over-page for a proforma authorisation form.

Lone working and out of hours work in the CSC                                          Version 3 AC Nov2010
               Form for groups authorising lone working /out-of-hours working

        Supervisors name:

           Lone / out-of-hours workers name:

      I, the supervisor, agree that the named lone/ out-of-hours worker is sufficiently competent
      to perform the following agreed procedures, out of core hours and/or alone.

            A risk assessment for the procedures has been performed and this worker fully
             understands the requirements of the assessments.
            All risks will be reduced to as low as is reasonably practicable, by the control measures
             identified in the assessment.
            Extra precautions where necessary will be taken for performing this work alone.
            The named lone worker is aware of emergency procedures and knows how to summon
             help if required.


I, the lone/ out-of-hours worker, am aware of the hazards identified in the risk assessment for this
work and I will implement all control measures identified. I understand the emergency procedures and
know how to summon help, if required. I will stop work if I am unsure of what to do next. I agree that
I will only perform the procedures agreed with my supervisor.

Lone/ out-of-hours worker’s signature:                                             Date:

Supervisor’s signature:                                                            Date:

Lone work out-of-hours period for the purposes of this authorisation is defined as 1900 – 0700
weekdays, all day weekends and public holidays and Imperial College closure days (where applicable).

Staff undertaking lone out-of-hours work MUST inform Security, either verbally at the Commonwealth
Building office, by telephone on 32242 or via e-mail at hammersmith.security@imperial.ac.uk and
preferably someone else such as family, friend etc. of their intentions and whereabouts, including
expected time of departure. Staff should ensure they will be missed and action taken if they do not
leave the site when expected or communicate with their contact on time. All staff are advised to
complete their contact card and leave it with the appropriate person(s).

Staff undertaking lone work must exercise increased vigilance re illness, fire etc. and if handling
hazardous chemicals and/or biological agents must wear appropriate protection, including safety

Anyone feeling unwell, tired or stressed should think carefully before undertaking lone work. Staff with
a medical condition that increases their risk from lone work must not undertake lone work without prior
discussion with the Safety Adviser.

Lone working and out of hours work in the CSC                                              Version 3 AC Nov2010

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