06 Bijzondere werkzaamheden
 >  Solitary working
Discussion > Talk to your colleagues about it!

  1. I am always in touch with a colleague/line manager when I am working alone.
  2. I am familiar with the agreements on solitary working.
  3. Do you have experience with working alone?
  4. Can you think of any other control measures that could limit the risks of working alone?

In this toolbox we will discuss the topic “solitary working”.

Solitary working occurs more often than you would expect. Solitary working means: “Working beyond the hearing or vision range of colleagues or line managers.” In case of danger or an accident, you will not be able to rely on colleagues. Employers are required to limit the risks of solitary working in order to prevent incidents. According to the Working Conditions Act, it is the employer’s responsibility to provide a safe and healthy work place; this also applies to solitary working. In certain situations, solitary working is prohibited.

Risks > What can happen?

​According to the Working Conditions Decree, there is a ban on working solitary during:

  • in a room containing a high voltage electrical installation of which the components are not or insufficiently protected against (in)direct contact/approach;
  • in an enclosed space with a risk of asphyxiation, intoxication, poisoning, a fire or explosion.  

When drafting a Risk Inventory and Evaluation (RI&E), an employer must consider the risks employees working by themselves encounter and take appropriate measures against these.

The most important ones being:

  • falling from a height
  • live parts
  • moving components of machines /tools
  • hazardous substances
  • working near or over water
  • risk of collision
Measures > What must you do?

  • When drafting a Risk Inventory and Evaluation (RI&E), an employer must take into account the risks of solitary working and take appropriate measures against these.
  • There has to be an instruction program for solitary workers, which focuses on the individual risks and the associated measures (including the use of PPE’s).
  • The emergency response or self-rescue procedures should also be a part of this program.
  • Repeat the instruction on a regular basis.
  • People with related disease patterns, such as epilepsy, or who are using medicines that influence their ability to react, are not allowed to work alone.
  • Report the use of medicines to your line manager.
  • The solitary worker should be able to quickly and easily protect himself against unwanted or aggressive visitors or intruders.
  • First check if solitary working can be avoided.
  • Check within the company, where, when and whom is working alone.
  • Determine which risks solitary workers are exposed to.
  • Check if the risks are prevented by appropriate measures.
  • Also include the inventory of work busses in the RI&E, such as first aid kits or equipment for climbing or descending.
  • Create a check list for each part of the job, which the solitary worker must tick off before starting work (LMRA).
  • Ensure that line managers within the company always know when, where and which solitary workers are working.
  • Have line managers randomly monitor the safety and behaviour of solitary workers.
  • Change the RI&E in case the results of the control measures stated above give cause to do so.  

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