Working Alone

Situations where a person is assigned to work alone or in isolation and where assistance would not readily be available.

Working Alone

What is working alone?

Students, staff and faculty may engage in activities that require them to work alone with hazardous materials, energized machinery or while conducting field work. In these situations, a fail safe communication procedure must be in place to ensure the individual receives help if an accident or emergency should occur.

Some UBC units address the issue of working alone simply by prohibiting the practice. This eliminates the need to develop a working alone procedure. However, for situations where a person is assigned to work alone or in isolation and where assistance would not readily be available:

  • in case of an emergency, or
  • in case the worker is injured or in ill health

Units must complete a formal risk assessment and develop a procedure to ensure the health and safety of the worker.

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What is the working alone procedure?

Most often a working alone procedure involves regular documented contact with other UBC personnel, preferably within the building. Alternatively, workers can schedule times for contacting a supervisor, friend, partner or a commercial service provider.

For guidance on implementing working alone procedures that meet workplace regulations see Risk Management Services’ Working Alone Procedure (PDF).

Note that under the University Safety Policy (PDF), supervisors have the responsibility to formulate specific safety rules and safe work procedures for their area of supervision. They are also responsible for ensuring that all employees under their supervision are aware of safety practices and follow the safety procedures.
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