Health and Safety

Safe Working During University Holidays

This guidance supplements Health and Safety Arrangements for Lone Working and applies to all staff and students wishing to carry out laboratory or office work in University premises during University closure periods. 

This guidance does not apply where working during some or all of such a period is part of the normal business or operations which should be considered as normal hours and provided for accordingly.

Work during University Holiday periods is a form of out of hours working or lone working. The normal support infrastructure will not available during these periods with the following implications for the health and safety of those involved:

  • There may be few, if any, other people in the building who otherwise might become aware of illness or accident and summon assistance;
  • Absence of local first aid support in the event of a medical problem of accident;
  • Lack of help and guidance;
  • Lack of technical assistance in dealing with hazardous equipment or substances;
  • Wellbeing;
  • Reduced heating and lighting levels;
  • Activation of security systems.

There is no general legal prohibition on working alone.  However where there is a justified requirement for working during these periods a risk assessment and authorisation process must to be followed which:

  • justifies the work;
  • defines its scope, location, date, time and duration;
  • identifies the risks to the person;
  • specifies the safe working arrangements to minimise the risks as far as is reasonably practicable;
  • ensures that the persons concerned have the necessary competency;  and
  • specifies assistance arrangements which might include an accompanying person (buddy system) or other contact system.

A template for an approval form is available

Office Work

The risks from lone working in offices are usually minimal and are likely to be related to the location of the work as opposed to the process being carried out. A generic risk assessment would be sufficient with any arrangements for safe working written into the School/Departmental Safety Policy. The generic risk assessment (first worksheet) that supports the guidance for lone working and out of hours working illustrates the standard control measures to be adopted. Providing that the physical environment is satisfactory and there are no significant medical conditions that increase the risk of illness, the main actions for the individual will be to sign in and out of the building and set up contact arrangements.


The Head of School or Department is responsible for ensuring that arrangements are in place to enable lone working situations to be identified, risk assessments carried out for these and adequate control measures introduced.

Individuals are responsible for requesting permission with reasonable notice in line with the local arrangements and for complying with the control measures and procedures arising out of the risk assessment.


Health and Safety Department

Pharmacy Building (Building 63)
University Park
University of Nottingham
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Telephone: Telephone: +44 (0)115 9513401
Email: h&