Are you an employer with workers based at home, or splitting their time between home and the office? If so, you’ll need to ensure they are in a healthy and safe environment. That means undertaking home risk assessments and potentially making changes to your team’s home setups.
What risks do employees face when working from home?
“The risks faced by an employee using a laptop at home might not be on a par with, say, those faced by a roofer or pilot,” comments Andrew Ferguson, Managing Director at Work Here, Work There. “However, employers still need to do all they can to mitigate them. This keeps workers safe and also satisfies the requirements of the company’s insurers.”
Some common dangers that home-based employees face relate to their use of display screen equipment and electrical equipment. Employers have a duty to ensure that all such equipment is electrically safe and in good working order. They also need to consider how the equipment is set up. Is there sufficient lighting for screen use? Is the screen at the right height? Is the employee the right distance from it?
Employers also need to ensure their employees have the right furniture when working from home. The key items here are the worker’s desk and chair. These need to ensure the worker is comfortable and correctly positioned, to avoid any long-term harm to their physical health.
The way equipment is laid out is also important. Is the employee having to stretch across the desk repeatedly to reach things? Are there items on the floor that could cause trips or falls?
“These risks may seem minor, but they can have serious long-term consequences,” continues Ferguson. “Thankfully, identifying them and putting solutions in place is usually swift and inexpensive.”