A person is deemed to be working alone or in isolation when they cannot be seen or heard by another person and have limited means of communication for an extended period of time.
Please note, for home visits and working offsite (e.g. visiting students homes) please see
Offsite and Home Visits.
Working alone or in isolation from others presents a new set of hazards that employees should be made aware of. These can include but are not limited to:
- Exposure to violence
- Limited access to emergency assistance
- Manual handling
It is important to assess the likelihood of these risks by utilising the Risk Assessment Template in conjunction with section 3.2.3 “Suggested Standard Types and Approval Levels” of the Working Alone, in Isolation or from Home Procedure.
Relevant sections of the OHSMS
Where/when would these issues be relevant?
Working alone or in isolation may include:
- working from home
- working in limited access areas i.e. working in a downstairs filing room with limited contact with others
- working over holiday breaks.
What do you need to do?
Employees are responsible for:
- completing a “work-Life Balance Proposal” and “Self-Assessment” where necessary
- complying with the conditions in the Telecommuting Agreement, including work schedules and Designated Work Hours
- clearly defining work and domestic commitments
- maintaining open communication channels with the primary workplace
- assessing the task required (e.g. laptop use for report writing), and taking reasonable care in choosing a suitable work space, including ergonomics, lighting, thermal comfort, and safety if working from home outside the scope of a Telecommunication Agreement
- conducting regular inspections of the workplace where required using the ‘Work Area Checklist’ in the Telecommuting Agreement.
Workplace Managers are responsible for:
- negotiating a mutual Telecommuting Agreement with an employee to work alone or in isolation including working from home. This document is to be signed, dated and a copy provided to the employee, as well as placed in the employee’s personnel file to be retained in the workplace
- establishing a three month trial period for the Telecommuting Agreement
- providing a written response to the Work-Life Balance Proposal within twenty one days of submission
- ensuring the remote workplace does not pose any risks to the employee’s health, safety or wellbeing, as far as is reasonably practicable
- ensuring the ‘Work-Area Checklist’ in the ‘Telecommuting Agreement’ has been completed by the employee prior to signing the Telecommuting Agreement
- ensuring the ‘Register of Employees Permitted to Work Alone or in Isolation’ has been completed.
Legislation, guidance and Codes of Practice
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004
Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017
OHS Advisory Service on ph. 1300 074 715 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Incident Support Operations Centre on 1800 126 126 (24 hour service)
Human Resources - Flexible Work for Work-Life Balance
WorkSafe Victoria Officewise – A guide to health and safety in the office
WorkSafe Victoria – Working Alone Information Sheet