Estates Lone Working Policy

This standard applies to anyone working; studying or taking part in any activity managed by UCL and includes staff, graduate students, contractors and visitors.

Weekend working, work during public holidays and University closure days are considered as "out of hours working" and require permission of a senior manager/supervisor.

People who manage staff or are responsible for overseeing works and contracts, are required to consider whether there will be any 'after hours' or 'lone-working' by staff or contractors. If so then, there must be satisfactory provision for the management of this risk. 

There is no general prohibition to working alone, but there is a legal duty to assess the risks of the work. If the task is to be carried out by someone while they are alone the risk assessment must consider the hazards of being alone in addition to the hazards involved with the work itself. 

The safety risks associated with after hours and lone working include being unable to summon help in an emergency and being unable to carry out a task safely on one's own. 

General Guidelines

Normal working hours should fall between 7.00am and 7.00pm; work outside of these hours, weekend working and work during public holidays and University closure days must be considered as "out of hours working" and only carried out with the permission of the senior manager/supervisor. 

No one should work alone outside normal working hours. The degree and nature of the controls in place will depend on the level of risk identified; for example high risk maintenance work would require at least two people working together (buddy working). Low risk administrative work could be addressed by having another person in the office, in an adjacent office or working on the same floor. 

A risk assessment must be carried out for all lone working and safety control measures appropriate to the risk must be implemented. The following must be taken into account when carrying out a risk assessment and identifying safety control measures for after hours and lone working;

  • Individual vulnerability of worker, e.g. medical, young worker, mobility etc. 
  • The nature of the work and the risks involved 
  • The location of the building (buildings entirely within UCL campus are likely to present less of a risk than those opening directly onto the street) 
  • Local knowledge and past experiences 
  • The security cover provided for the building 
  • The number of other workers in the work area after hours 
  • The agreed finish time for late working 
  • Information & instruction to staff about the safety control measures in place 
  • Emergency arrangements e.g. FEM cover and routes of escape out of hours; some normal routes may not be accessible out of hours 
  • First aid cover 

There is a UCL Lone Working Standard on the Safety Services pages which goes through the steps of a risk assessment for lone working.

Safety Services - Lone Working

Lone Working arrangements during normal office hours periods

Lone working safety control measures during office hours are managed by the staff member's line manager. 

The Line Managers or supervisor should undertake a risk assessment and record the safety control arrangements made between the staff member and line manager. 

Lone Working arrangements during 'out of hours' periods

Lone working safety control measures during 'out of hours' periods will be managed by UCL Estates security and this additional service is arranged by the manager liaising with UCL Estates Security in a timely manner.

Emergency 'out of hours' maintenance staff should use the existing arrangement with UCL Security of checking in when arriving at site and checking out when safely back at home or office. If the maintenance staff member does not check back in with security after an agreed period of time, security staff will contact the staff member to confirm their situation and raise the alarm if contact cannot be made. 

Last updated: Friday, April 14, 2023

Last Updated

14 April 2023