Information on working alone

General information

Working alone can mean that a person is exposed to increased or critical risks.
A person is considered to be 'working alone' if help cannot be provided immediately after an accident or critical situation.

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Office work

Is not considered dangerous work alone. However, in order to fulfil your duty of care as a superior, you should ensure that a telephone is present in every office.

Legal basis

Section 5 (1) of the Arbeitsschutzgesetz (Act on the Implementation of Measures of Occupational Safety and Health to Encourage Improvements in the Safety and Health Protection of Workers at Work) stipulates that the employer shall determine which measures of occupational safety and health are necessary by assessing the risk to workers associated with their work.

"Dangerous work" should strictly not be performed by one person alone.
In exceptional cases it may be necessary, for operational reasons, for a person to be given "dangerous work" alone. In this case, Section 8 of the accident prevention regulations "Principles of Prevention" (DGUV Regulation 1) applies: 

 (2) If a hazardous task is performed by one person on their own, the employer shall ensure suitable technical or organisational personal protection measures are in place, in addition to the general protection measures.

Technical or organisational measures can be, for example, personal alarm systems, constant camera surveillance, telephone/radio alarm systems or other people within calling or seeing distance.

Tasks considered to be "dangerous work" include ones from which risks can arise from the working procedure, the type of task, the substances used or the environment, such as

  • mechanical, electrical, chemical, biological, thermal risks, or from radiation,
  •  in the event of more than one risk, or one risk plus several

         adverse effects, e.g. environmental influences, physiological or psychological factors.

Examples of dangerous tasks

Working with a fall hazard, e.g. on ladders Maintenance tasks, gardening/horticulture, fieldwork
Working on live electrical installations Maintenance tasks, new installations
Transferring and transporting asphyxiant gases Labs
Working with dangerous chemical or biological agents Labs
Particularly dangerous work in forests, fields or gardens, e.g. working with chainsaws, felling trees Gardening / horticulture
Tasks with a risk of being caught in rotating parts or tools Carpentry or metal workshops
Working with strong sources of radiation Checking materials
Working in shafts, pits, canals or at flowing waters

Fieldwork/excavations (geology, archaeology,

agriculture, botany, etc.)
Working in areas at risk from natural hazards (e.g. working in the mountains, at the coast, on the sea) Fieldwork/excavations
Diving work Fieldwork in water bodies (biology, geology)
Working with large animals, e.g cattle Farming
Climbing into silos or containers Farming, e.g. feed or manure silos