As an employer, even during this terrible health crisis you have the same health and safety responsibilities for home workers as for any other workers – and with a sudden rise in the number of people temporarily working from home, following government advice to reduce social interaction during the Coronavirus pandemic, are you sure your home workers have a safe, risk-free environment where they can continue to carry out their duties?
Many organisations employ staff who work from home infrequently but now many sectors, my own included, suddenly have a workforce operating exclusively from their homes. Importantly, these people are still ‘at work’ and normal legal obligations apply. According to Section 2 of the Health and safety at Work Act we must pursue the following:-
Assess the risks. Even though homeworking is temporary, it is good practice to provide staff with a checklist to help them make any necessary adjustments to their work- station. Support this through training delivered by webinar, computer- based learning or over the telephone. There are free resources available online to assist.
Provide any equipment needed to create the right conditions for work. Foot- rests, risers, ergonomic keyboards and back rests can all be easily transported from the office.
Ensure any work equipment you send home is safe and without risks to health. A current PAT test is a must but think also about where the equipment will now be used; what measures need to be followed by an employee using a shredder in a home they share with children?
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