Working alone or in isolation 

Working alone or in isolation means to work in circumstances where assistance would not be readily available to the employee in case of an emergency or in case the employee is injured or in ill health.  Certain SFU work activities may be required to be completed alone or in isolation and precuations must be taken to ensure the safety and health of the employee.

See University Policy GP 39 Working Alone or in Isolation and it's appendices for responsbilities of upper level managers (Deans/Directors/Chairs), supervisors, the EHS department, and all employees; policy definitions; and risk assessment procedures.

Working Alone FAQs

  • What are some examples of working alone or in isolation at SFU?
    • An office employee completing photocopying on a weekend when no other employees are around
    • A researcher testing hazardous substances alone in a laboratory
    • A Facilities Services employee working in a mechanical room
    • An IT employee upgrading equipment in a network closet
    • A researcher or team of researchers collecting samples in a remote location
    • Multiple employees working together but unable to readily access emergency assistance due to their location
  • Is working from home considered working alone or in isolation?
    • Yes. Remote routine office work or working from home is considered to be a low risk activity. Supervisors with employees who work from home need to develop a Site-specific Working Alone or in Isolation protocol and determine the appropriate frequency of check-in.  The recommended frequency of check in is at the beginning and end of the work day.  This can be performed by email, text, Teams or phone call.
  • Are supervisors required to visit their employee's home to perform the risk assessment?
    • No. The risk assessment can be performed virtually in discussion with the employee.
  • I am not required to work alone but I choose to - what do I do?
    • Advise your supervisor. Employees are responsible for seeking permission prior to working alone or in isolation so supervisors can take steps to ensure their safety by assessing and controlling risk and checking in.  
  • Can students use the Lone Worker Program?
    • Yes.