Faculty of Environment

Lone / Out of Hours Working


This page outlines a list of activities that are not permitted outside University normal working hours (8.30am-5pm) or during work hours while alone (lone working). It is accepted that many staff and Postgraduate students will enter the buildings to work in offices outside of these hours – they should be aware of the Faculty Generic Lone Working Risk Assessment (available at… FOE safety website).  Work carried out in the Driving Simulator is subject to the specific procedures for the Simulator.

If you wish to carry out activities either out of hours or in a lone working situation then specific permission needs to be sought from either the Health and Safety Manager or Officer (foe-safety@leeds.ac.uk) on behalf of the Heads of School/ Institute. Before permission will be granted there will need to be a risk assessment, Standard Operating Procedure detailing the specific controls for the activity and a completed ‘Out of hours / Lone Working Approval’ form.

Anyone working out of hours should sign in at reception for all activities taking place between 17:00 and 08:30, weekends or University closed days. They should also sign out on leaving the building. It is also a requirement that a buddy system is in place (see definition below).

It should be noted that failure to adhere to these restrictions will result in immediate withdrawal of access to the laboratories and / or workshops.


Lone working: working when isolated from other people within normal working hours. Isolated means outside of shouting distance, or the same working environment, of another person who can respond appropriately to an emergency with knowledge of the activity, risks and hazards.

Out of hours working: working outside of normal working hours (8.30am-5pm).

Buddy system: this should be a person contacted by the worker on starting and completion of work. The ‘buddy’ should have access to the area the in question. They do not have to be in the building but they must be available in an emergency and understand the hazards and risks associated with the activity being undertaken.

Activities that are not permitted

  • No Undergraduate use of any workshop or laboratory.  Taught Postgraduates are only permitted after appropriate training and competence has been documented.
  • Any manual handling or connection of compressed gases.
  • Any handling of cryogens – for example liquid nitrogen, liquid argon or dry ice.
  • Any handling of concentrated acids or bases (solids or liquids) – these should be diluted before the out of hours period.
  • Any handling of concentrated toxic substances – as defined by the MSDS H statements 300, 301, 310, 311, 330 and 331.
  • Any handling of organic solvents which are highly volatile (b.p < 50oC, flash point <32oC) with MSDS H statements 224 and 225.
  • Carrying out any operation where a manual handling risk assessment is necessary, or use of any mechanical handling aid such as the forklift truck/ pallet truck/ scissor lift.
  • Operation of any equipment requiring the use of dangerous electromagnetic radiation (for example X-rays and lasers) where appropriate interlocks are not in place.
  • Operation of any mechanical equipment – such as a rock crushing equipment, workshop lathes, cutting or grinding equipment, mixer mills and pillar drills.
  • Operation of any equipment requiring the use of naked flames
  • Any work at height.
  • Work in constant temperature rooms (including cold and freezer rooms) other than depositing or retrieving samples.
  • Any other activity that has been assessed as unsuitable for lone working or out of hours working.