Lone working is covered by section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act and Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines lone workers as persons who “work by themselves without direct or close supervision”.


In a number of HSE case studies (1999) many of the risk factors identified in violence against workers could be attributed to:


  • Alcohol or drug use


  • Geographic location late evening/early morning work


  • Client behaviour – especially emotional, unpredictable or aggressive behaviour


  • Visiting young people in their homes


The dangers of lone working cannot always be foreseen or avoided but the safety of Dandelions staff is paramount.  It is important to remember that it will not always be possible to eliminate risk entirely, but consideration should be given to how it can be minimised to an “acceptable” level.


Any concerns must be addressed and staff should always err on the side of caution.


Concerns regarding the personal safety of, or risk posed by, a child or young person, a family member or other person associated with that child or young person, must be addressed prior to engagement or a visit.


Particular care must be taken when working during evenings and weekends.


If there are concerns regarding working with a child or young person or attending a location the following practice should be followed:


-       A/The next partner must be consulted.


-       Following discussion, the potential risk should be evaluated.


-       A decision should be taken as to whether the engagement or visit should take place.


-       An action plan must be agreed to eliminate or reduce the risk.


-       The following should be considered to reduce the potential risk:


-       Consider a joint visit with the partner.


-       Ring the Referrer before entering the premises or engaging with the child or young person.


-       Honesty is always the best policy. Discuss any concerns with the Referrer, and if appropriate, the parent/carer and the young person.





a)     ask your a manager or a colleague to telephone you 10/15 minutes into the visit or engagement.


b)     Arrange to phone a manager or colleague when the visit or engagement has concluded.


In the event of an unforeseen risk you should contact your line manager and discuss a course of action in line with the above policy.


If, despite following the above procedures, or in the event of unforeseen circumstances, an immediate risk arises, the Engagement Worker should honestly and explicitly explain the risk and quietly and calmly leave the premises or conclude the visit/engagement. Short sessional notes should be made as soon as practicable should the incident/risk be referred to again for any reason.




The initial visit is generally conducted at the family home with the young person and parent(s)/ carer(s).


Attempts should be made to identify issues with regard to safety prior to the visit through discussions with professionals or other persons connected with the young person, e.g. Social Worker, Short Stay School staff.


On the first visit the Dandelions Engagement Worker should be accompanied (preferably by a/the Partner).


If issues are identified, either prior to, or following the initial visit, these must be discussed with a/the Partner, and a risk assessment completed identifying and methods of minimising the risks.