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Department of Engineering Health & Safety



In order to fulfil its general duties under the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and specific duties of the Management of Health Safety at Work Regulations, the Department of Engineering is required to provide a safe environment, safe equipment and safe systems of work for its employees and those working on its premises.

These requirements are applicable to all work situations but have particular relevance where staff are working alone and therefore the risk to the individual may be increased by the lack of available support should something go wrong.

Lone working covers anyone who has neither visual nor audible communication with someone (physically) who can summon assistance in the event of an accident, illness or other adverse event.

Control of Lone Working

The Department is generally open 07:00 to 23.00 Monday to Friday and 08:00 to 23:00 at weekends (08:00 to 20:00 at Trumpington Street). Working outside these hours is not normally permitted, but can be requested using the process outlined under Out of Hours Access, where arrangements to prevent lone working will be addressed.

Lone working at any time is discouraged, however the policy for dealing with lone working is no different from other activities in that it involves risk assessment for the lone working activity. The objective of the risk assessment is to ensure that satisfactory control measures are in place for such activities.

Being the only person in a building without significant safeguards is not permitted. If you intend to work after 19:30 Monday to Friday or at any time during the weekend, you should register your presence by signing in to your building. At West Cambridge, sign in screens are located in each building in the main lobby area. At Trumpington Street, you should sign in using Power Apps Mobile, which can be downloaded from the Apple or Android app store or by using the link here. Failing that, there are books located in each of the main entrances to Baker, Inglis (off the courtyard) and James Dyson Buildings. If you are already inside the building but intend to stay late, signing-in is still required.

The Department acknowledges that there may be an increased risk to health and safety of its employees, students and others when working alone. Risk assessments should be undertaken to identify risk to the lone worker and measures introduced to minimise risks whenever reasonably practicable.

If the work is considered to be low risk then staff and students should simply abide by the lone working control measures i.e. ensure that you are familiar with:

  • signing in requirements (after 19.30 Monday to Friday and any time at the weekend);
  • the English language (to assess and understand the risks involved and to call emergency services if needed);
  • the locations of telephones for use in an emergency (may not have mobile phone coverage);
  • the Departmental emergency procedure and local fire alarm call points and escape routes (including alternatives); and
  • first aid arrangements.

If the work is considered to be high risk then lone working is not permitted at any time. These are any activities that have a significant risk of causing injury, ill health or harm, some examples being:

  • laboratory, workshop, construction, maintenance work activities;
  • work with toxic chemicals;
  • work with radiation;
  • work with biological or GM materials;
  • operation of heavy machinery, e.g. saws, lathes; and / or
  • work outside of Departmental facilities and not at home.

Detailed information on this issue is provided on the Lone Working Guidance pages of the main University of Cambridge Safety Office website.

Safety Office Contact Details



Inglis Building

Trumpington Street

Cambridge CB2 1PZ


Gary Steele

Department Safety Officer (DSO)

Departmental Fire Safety Manager (DFSM)

Tel: 01223 (3)32740


Steve Wickens

Department Safety Coordinator

Tel: 01223 (7)61455