Safety, Health and Wellbeing

Working alone

Our role is to develop and assist in the implementation of the UWA safety, health and wellbeing programs in order to minimise the risk of injury, illness and property damage.

We provide consultancy and other services to promote best practice and legislative compliance in all University and related activities.

The purpose of this Standard is to establish, document and communicate the UWA rules and principles to prevent the risk of injury or harm to people who are required to work alone or in remote locations.


Remote or isolated work is work that is isolated from the assistance of other people because of the location, time or nature of the work. Assistance from other people includes medical assistance, rescue and emergency services. A person is considered to be “alone” at work when they cannot be seen or heard by another person, and when they cannot expect a visit from a supervisor, another worker or member of the public for some time. In some situations, two or more personnel may be working together in a remote location that poses increased risk (e.g. working in an outback location, working on a remote research station) as they are not within close proximity of other personnel and associated rescue, medical or emergency services. These situations must be assessed using an appropriate risk assessment process.


Intent: High risk activities are excluded, the hazards associated with persons working alone or in remote locations are identified, assessed and controlled

High Risk Activities

Excluded whilst working alone or in remote locations includes:

  1. Listed Chemical Refer xxx e.g. Hydrofluoric acid.
  2. Explosive and potentially unstable substances.
  3. Low-temperature environments (e.g. cool rooms, freezers).
  4. High-powered, fast moving, rotating machinery or equipment.
  5. Activities requiring a Permit to Work (PTW)

Activity requiring personnel to work alone or in a remote location shall undergo a risk assessment that includes:

  1. The location, time of day, climatic conditions, work activity, communication and duration when a person may be working alone or in a remote location;
  2. The time and resources required to provide an effective response in an emergency.

Safe Systems of Work

Intent: Local procedures that describe the safe systems of work are in place for activities involving personnel working alone or in remote locations

  • Where applicable, local procedures shall include:
    1. Roles, responsibilities and accountabilities for safely managing the work; first-aid, basic survival skills, use of communications equipment; use of survival equipment, personal security devices and equipment.
    2. Communication shall include contact with the lone worker be made at prearranged intervals.
    3. The types of activities where a PTW is required.

    Authorisation, Training and Competency

    Intent: Personnel are authorised and competent

    All personnel required to work alone or in remote locations shall

    • Be provided with adequate information, instruction and training before commencing the work and selected on the basis they can demonstrate they can:
      1. Carry out activities safely without direct supervision;
      2. Manage events that are likely to occur when working alone;
      3. Follow procedures to obtain emergency assistance if required; and
      4. Follow procedures to establish regular contact with a nominated person;

      Communications & Safety Equipment

      Intent: Personnel are provided with communication and other equipment

      Persons working alone or in remote locations shall be provided with an:

      • Effective means of communication to enable regular contact or call for help in an emergency.
      • Appropriate survival equipment (e.g. water supplies, food rations etc) and personnel protective equipment (e.g. personal flotation device) when working or transferring over water.

      Emergency Response & Rescue

      Intent: Effective emergency response capability is in place to respond to all potential emergencies involving personnel working alone or in remote areas

      • A suitable emergency response system (including fast response, rescue equipment, communications equipment, trained personnel, documented response procedures/ plans etc) shall be in place and available to effectively respond whenever work in remote locations is being conducted (In accordance with the UWA Emergency Procedures).

      The campus emergency number is 6488 2222. UWA Security (phone 6488 3020) offer a 24 hour escort service to vehicle or residences near the campus and also offer lectures on personal security. To request their assistance telephone 6488 3020 allow up to 20 minutes notice for the escorting service.

      WorkSafe WA provide guidance regarding working alone and how it influences the risk of harm or injury at