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Lone Working in Care at Home (Scotland) Policy

This policy sets out the values, principles and procedures underpinning this care at home agency’s approach to lone working in line with the national health and social care standards set out in My Support, My Life.

Policy Statement

This agency considers, in line with its duty of care to its employees, that lone workers should not be put at risk as a result of having to visit someone’s home on their own and often at times, when the risks to their personal safety are greater than usual.

The agency understands lone workers to be those who work without close or direct supervision or company for substantial periods of time. This includes most care at home staff who visit and care for people in their own homes.

In this context, the agency understands its duty as an employer is to assess any risks to lone workers and take steps to avoid or control those risks where necessary. The agency recognises that staff working alone in potentially isolated conditions might not have any immediate backup or support, and so are at a greater risk of injury through aggression or violence directed towards them from people receiving care, relatives, carers or the general public. The agency also recognises that staff working alone need to rely on their own judgment and initiative and may be at a greater risk of making mistakes or errors.

The agency considers that training is particularly important for lone workers. It acknowledges research showing that adequate training is the single most critical factor in avoiding panic reactions in unusual situations.

In particular, lone workers need to be deemed competent to work alone, to be sufficiently experienced and to understand the risks and precautions needed fully. The agency understands its duty as an employer is to ensure employees are competent to deal not only with the day-to-day aspects of their work but with circumstances which are new, unusual or beyond the scope of their training, for example if threatened with aggression and violence.

Lone Worker Supervision Policy

By definition, lone workers are those who work without constant supervision at specific times or throughout their working day; therefore, procedures must be put in place to monitor lone workers to ensure they remain safe and to provide supervision on a regular basis. This includes supervisors periodically visiting and observing those working alone and regular contact between the lone worker and supervisor by telephone.

The agency considers that supervision helps to ensure that employees understand the risks associated with their work and that the necessary safety precautions are carried out. The extent of supervision required depends on the risks involved and the ability of the lone worker to identify and handle health and safety issues.


  1. When a member of staff visits someone in their own home, they may be at risk through health and safety hazards in and around that person’s home and of physical or verbal assaults and hostility from the person receiving care, relatives and the general public. Recent evidence suggests that such incidents may be on the increase and home visiting protocols should take this into account, particularly in high-risk areas such as high-crime rate areas.
  2. The assessment of all new referrals always includes a risk assessment which includes threats from health and safety hazards and from aggression and violence and other threats to lone working.
  3. Lone workers are expected to carry panic alarms and mobile phones so that they can summon help quickly. All phones include an emergency number which can be contacted at all times that staff are working.
  4. Lone workers are instructed to call in at regular intervals to report that they are safe, including at the end of a shift.
  5. Administrative staff log and keep details of all home visits as well as having access to the names, addresses and telephone numbers of people for whom lone working is required.
  6. Administrative staff will contact the duty manager in the event of any emergency situations.
  7. In a situation where a lone worker feels under immediate threat of their physical safety, they should contact the police directly or inform the duty administrator who should contact the police for them. The administrator should be careful to take all appropriate information from the lone worker, such as location and telephone number, and to pass this on to the police. After the incident the lone worker should fill in an incident form.
  8. Care staff should carry in their cars the absolute minimum amount of equipment and they should always park their car in a well-lit, public place if at all possible. Thefts from cars are a major area of concern and muggings of care staff are a real threat, especially in high-crime areas. If on foot, then care staff should avoid dark, unlit, isolated routes to work.
  9. In cases where care is to be provided in a high-crime area or to someone with a known history of aggression or violence associated with them, then a full risk assessment will be completed by the supervisor/manager. Where there is significant risk, then the care plan will be altered accordingly, either by reviewing the case with the relevant case manager or by arranging for care workers to attend in pairs.

Untoward Incidents

Untoward incidents, including all incidents which involve the use or threat of aggression or violence, are regularly reviewed and audited.


All staff are trained in personal security procedures, at and following induction. Security training is included in the induction training for all new staff. Security training is then reviewed and updated at least annually.

As part of the induction process, supervisors must satisfy themselves that each member of staff is competent and safe to work alone and that they are clear about how to act in ways that will maximise their own safety and about what to do in an emergency situation.

Responsible Person: {{org_field_registered_manager_first_name}} {{org_field_registered_manager_last_name}}

Reviewed on: {{last_update_date}}

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