Working Alone

Related Policy

Working Alone - 851.06.06


Many jobs may involve working alone situations. While working alone may not present an unacceptable risk, working alone situations need to be considered for the personal safety of those involved. University of Guelph faculty, staff, students and visitors must work together with their supervisors to assess working alone situations and develop safe work procedures and/or plans accordingly.


Working Alone is prohibited, where prescribed by regulation or a University policy, program or procedure. This includes but is not limited to work that involves the following,

  • Work at heights (portable ladders greater than 6m, work with a ladder that may be endangered by traffic, use of fall arrest equipment, scaffolds)
  • Work involving confined or restricted spaces
  • Work involving the risk of drowning
  • Work with acutely toxic, highly corrosive, dangerously reactive substances, or work with flammable solvents in the vicinity of an open flame.
  • Hot work requiring a fire watch
  • Work involving trenches
  • Work with hazardous equipment
  • Work that may induce pain in large animals or those already in pain
  • Work involving the use of supplied air respiratory equipment or self-contained breathing apparatus
  • Use of vehicle, crane or other equipment near a live power line where it is possible to make contact with the power line
  • Use of material handling equipment where the operator does not have full view of the intended path of travel
  • Work on energized lines or equipment as outlined in the Electrical Safety Policy

Departments are responsible for developing working alone safety plans and/or procedures as required to safeguard those individuals working alone. Working alone situations should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Considerations should include:

  • Type or nature of the work
  • Tasks and the associated hazards involved in the work being performed
  • The time or shift when the work is to be done
  • Length of time the person will be working alone
  • Communication methods, particularly as related to emergency communications
  • Location of the work
  • Frequency of job supervision
  • Worker’s training and experience
  • Likelihood of other workers to be in the area
  • Worker’s limitations and restrictions and/or medical condition as substantiated by Occupational Health & Wellness (OHW).

Additionally, other EHS policies and/or programs may have topic specific requirements related to working alone.