Working Alone


To establish policies for working alone when safety hazards may be present.


This policy applies to all University units of operation.


This policy is implemented under the authority of the Office of the Executive Director of Facilities & Services.


It is the duty of supervisors, foremen, and managers to ensure that employees do not work alone in hazardous situations, and/or to adequately monitor their safety when hazards are present.


Working alone may present an unacceptable risk. This is true on jobs where the circumstances are such that a person could be injured or die before his or her plight became known to others. The following list is not all-inclusive, but it gives examples of jobs that may be particularly hazardous for working alone. It is a guide for department officers who must evaluate such hazards in their operations and take appropriate control measures. Further examples and information related to work safety can be found at the Medical Surveillance section of the Safety and Compliance website.

Jobs typically requiring special measures of protection include, but are not limited to:

  1. Entering areas such as tanks, manholes, or pits for cleaning or servicing in any way. These jobs require at least two persons for safe operation, as well as other special measures.
  2. Digging trenches or wells deeper than 5 feet.
  3. Working on ladders or scaffolds in situations where materials are being hauled up and down, or where powered equipment is used.
  4. Working with high-energy materials, high pressures, or exposed energized electrical systems.
  5. Working with quick-acting, highly toxic materials.
  6. Experimental research or laboratory procedures where previous experience has shown the assistance to be necessary or desirable for safety.
  7. Working with certain types of high-energy or spinning shop or research machines.
  8. Transferring flammable liquids, except in very small quantities.
  9. Working over or in grain bins or elevators.

In jobs similar to those listed above, partnering with other workers is recommended. In some work situations the risk may not demand a second person be present, but some supervision is still desirable, such as telephone checks at planned intervals (if the worker’s situation makes this practical).

Other methods of monitoring solitary or isolated workers include open circuit intercommunications systems and closed circuit television.


Please consult the Division of Safety and Compliance, (217) 265-9828.