Skip to content

Working Alone

A person is "alone" at work when they are on their own; when they cannot be seen or heard by another person.

It is important to consider all situations carefully. Working alone includes all workers who may go for a period of time where they do not have direct contact with a co-worker. For example, the receptionist in a large office building may be considered a "lone" worker. Alternatively, a construction worker who is doing work in a bathroom or other location that cannot be seen by co-workers may also be considered a lone worker. Other examples are gas station attendants, convenience store clerks, food outlet workers, taxi drivers, home care workers, social service workers, security guards or custodians.

While it is not always hazardous to work alone, it can be when other circumstances are present. Whether a situation is a high or low risk will depend on the location, type of work, interaction with the public, or the consequences of an emergency, incident, injury, etc. This wide variety of circumstances makes it important to assess each situation individually.

There are many steps that can be taken to help ensure the safety of the lone worker:

  • Avoid having a lone worker whenever possible, especially for jobs with a recognized risk.
  • Assess the hazards of your workplace.
  • Talk to workers about their work. Get their input about the work they do and possible solutions.
  • Investigate incidents at your workplace, and learn from incidents in similar workplaces.
  • Take corrective action to prevent or minimize the potential risks of working alone.
  • Provide appropriate training and education to both the lone worker and the person tasked to respond if there is concern.
  • Report all situations, incidents or 'near misses' where being alone increased the severity of the situation. Analyze this information and make changes to company policy where necessary.
  • Establish a check-in procedure. Make sure that regular contact is kept with all workers. Establish ways to account for people (visually or verbally) while they are working.
  • Schedule higher risk tasks to be done during normal business hours, or when another worker capable of helping in an emergency is present.

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)

For more information about resources available at Humber, please visit the Public Safety Department website.

Public Safety

Campus Walk is a free service that provides a walking partner to students, employees and visitors who wish to be accompanied to their car, residence, transit stop or to the edge of Humber property.