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Working alone

Last updated October 2021

This chapter explains the health and safety risks of working alone, and how to reduce them and thereby comply with your health and safety obligations.

When might a worker be working alone?

There are many circumstances in which a worker may be required to work alone.

Definition: Working Alone

Working alone means that a person:
- is on their own;
- cannot be seen or heard by another person; or
- cannot expect a visit from another worker.

A worker may be required to work alone when:

  • travelling or working offsite, e.g. sales representatives, community workers and scientific researchers;
  • working in the service industry, e.g. a service station attendant on night shift;
  • driving, e.g. delivery or long-distance truck drivers, and bus and taxi drivers;
  • other staff are absent, e.g. the accompanying staff member is on sick leave or steps away from the worksite to run an errand;
  • needing to work separately from others due to the nature of the task, e.g. work that must be carried out in a confined space; and
  • working from home.
Important: Your health and safety obligations to workers who work alone are the same as for any worker – you must take all reasonably practicable steps to eliminate or reduce the risks to their health and safety. However, those who work alone can be at greater risk and therefore require a higher level of diligence to keep them safe.