Working Alone Policy

Title: Working Alone Policy
Policy Owner: Division of Environmental Health and Safety
Applies to: University Students
Campus Applicability: Storrs, Regionals, Law School
Effective Date: January 2013
For More Information, Contact Environmental Health and Safety
Contact Information: (860) 486-3613
Official Website:


No student is permitted to Work Alone in an Immediately Hazardous Environment.


This policy has been developed to minimize the risk of serious injury while Working Alone with materials, equipment or in areas that could result in serious injury or an immediate life-threatening hazard.


This policy applies to undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral students performing academic or research related work at the University of Connecticut Storrs, regional campuses and the Law School.


Working Alone means an isolated student working with an immediately hazardous material, equipment or in an area that, if safety procedures fail, could reasonably result in incapacitation and serious life threatening injury for which immediate first aide assistance is not available.

Immediately Hazardous Environment describes any material, activity or circumstance that could cause instantaneous incapacitation rendering an individual unable to seek assistance.  Examples include but are not limited to: potential exposure to poisonous chemicals and gases at a level approaching the IDLH (Immediately Dangerous to Life & Health); work with pyrophoric and explosive chemicals; work with pressurized chemical systems; entering confined spaces; work near high voltage equipment; work with power equipment that could pinch or grab body parts and/or clothing; etc.

Unit Managers are managers, supervisors, principle investigators, faculty, Department Heads and others who are responsible for assigning work to students that involve potential exposure to immediately hazardous environments.

Safety Content Expert is a safety professional from the UConn Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS).  EHS provides guidance to Unit Managers and their designees regarding the proper classification of campus activities as Immediately Hazardous or not; and provides safety information regarding proper procedures and personal protective equipment needed.

Direct Observation means the assigned second person is in line of sight or close hearing range with the individual working in an Immediately Hazardous Environment.


Violations of this policy may result in appropriate disciplinary measures in accordance with University Laws and Bylaws, General Rules of Conduct for All University Employees, applicable collective bargaining agreements and the University of Connecticut Student Conduct Code.


Unit Managers are responsible for identifying the risks and conditions that may place a student in an Immediately Hazardous Environment.  If unsure about a specific task or location, Unit Managers are advised to contact EHS to assist in recognizing/evaluating risks, and to help in developing appropriate hazard controls. The Unit Manager is also responsible to see that personnel are properly trained, proper procedures are in place, and that proper personal protective equipment is readily available and use is mandatory. This is documented by means of the Workplace Hazard Assessment form.

If the task/area is deemed a Working Alone situation, the Unit Manager must either:

a) Assign a second person for the duration of the immediately hazardous task or for work in immediately hazardous locations (confined spaces, elevated work area, etc.); or

b) Reschedule the work to a time when others are available to help monitor the welfare of the assigned student.

All personnel are responsible for notifying the Unit Managers of situations that present the possibility of a student Working Alone in an immediately hazardous environment.

Personnel assigned to keep watch must provide Direct Observation at all times while students are in an Immediately Hazardous Environment to prevent a Working Alone situation.

Students are directly responsible for adhering to all safety procedures, wearing appropriate personal protective equipment and to be current in training requirements.  Students shall not Work Alone in an area or on tasks that have been recognized as an Immediately Hazardous Environment.

Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) personnel shall, upon request, assist in identifying Immediately Hazardous Environments and Working Alone situations.  EHS shall assist in the anticipation, recognition and evaluation of hazards and provide expertise in developing controls to prevent injuries to personnel.  EHS will verify submitted area Workplace Hazard Assessment during routine inspections.

Recommended Safety Information Resources

Refer to the EH&S website for additional workplace safety requirements:

Policies, programs and procedures