Working from home health and safety guidance update
The HSE have provided updated health and safety guidance for managing home workers’ health and safety.
Employers are still responsible for the health and safety of people working from home, as any other worker. Although most of the time the risks around working from home will be low, you should still carry out a risk assessment for home workers taking into account:
- Stress and mental health
- Working with screen display equipment
- Their working environment
Firstly, you should speak to your employees and ensure working from home is still suitable for them – for some they might not have an appropriate place to work and may prefer the social aspect of being in the office to improve mental health.
Carrying out a risk assessment
In most cases, it’s unnecessary to visit them at home to carry out a risk assessment but you do need to make sure they’re in a safe environment to carry out work. If you have disabled workers, it would be a good idea to visit them.
Stress and mental health working from home
Home workers face many of the same issues as working elsewhere, but remote working can increase isolation and may have a negative effect on their mental health – particularly with any pre-existing conditions.
How to manage the risks of working from home
- Keep in touch so everyone feels connected and kept in the loop
- Talk openly and communicate often, particularly if you feel their mental health is not in a good place
- You can carry out a specific stress risk assessment
- Offer occupational support, if and when needed
- Encourage taking a break during the day and using annual leave
Working with display screen equipment (DSE)
Employees need to be protected from health and safety risks in relation to using a laptop or computer at home, you can check if the DSE regulations apply to your workers here.
DSE assessments can be self-assessed assuming the correct training has been carried out.
You should ensure that home workers:
- Achieve a comfortable, sustainable position when working with screens
- Equipment is safe and suitable for use
Working environment and accidents
- Ask your employees to check their sockets, plugs and leads in connection with work for any signs of damage. You are only responsible for electrical equipment provided to your workers.
- Provide advice on maintaining a tidy work area – for example avoiding spillages or trailing wires that could be tripped on.
- Consider checking you have access to employee’s emergency contact details in case you can’t get in touch with your employee and let them know what to do in an emergency, who to contact and what contact details they should use for you.
- Check if lone working applies to your employees, information can be found here.
Reporting accidents for home workers
Keep in mind that some incidents may need to be reported under RIDDOR – you have the same responsibilities for home workers under RIDDOR as you do anyone else.
If it occurred as a result of:
- Work activity being carried out
- The equipment you provided to carry out the work
Not every incident in a person’s home will need to be reported, so it’s just something to keep in mind.
You can view the HSE’s full guidance here.
Speak to an expert
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