The Coronavirus pandemic meant companies up and down the country had to consider homeworking for the first time. As a result, homeworking risk assessments became much more common.  Even though most businesses are heading towards normal now, working from home has become more common. Flexible working means many companies give their employees the chance to work from home more often. This makes homeworking risk assessments more important than ever before. Let’s look more closely at your obligations and requirements as an employer.

Homeworking Risk Assessments: The Rules

Employers have the same duty of care and health and safety responsibilities for people working at home. This is the case for long-term homeworkers, part-time homeworkers and those who are temporarily working from home due to Coronavirus r any other reason.

In most instances, the risks to homeworkers are very low, and the actions are only minimal and straightforward. The main points to consider for homeworking risk assessments include:

  1. Stress and mental health
  2. Display screen equipment suitability
  3. The general working environment

Employers can talk to their workers directly about their arrangements and see whether there is a suitable setup to work safely from home. However, this will not always be the case, so you need to consider the alternatives available for these individuals. Your company’s risk assessment must include home workers if even a single employee sometimes works from home.

Assessing Employees Home Environments

It is very rare an employer will need to visit their employee’s home to assess for health and safety purposes. It would be best if you asked your employees whether they have a safe environment to work in, and in most instances, the answer will be yes. In a few special situations, you may consider a home visit such as when:

  • You need to put in place special equipment or adjustments for employees, perhaps if they have a disability.
  • If the work requires significant hazards such as working with tools or chemicals and you need to assess the environment for safety in these circumstances

Practical ways to support the health and safety of homeworkers centre around communication. Regularly checking in via phone or email and utilising additional tools such as questionnaires and self-assessment quizzes can help ensure you have a good understanding of their homeworking setup and provide the right support level to create a safe work environment.

While many organisations may be up and running as before, many workers still need to work from home during isolation periods or due to their preference for this more flexible way of working. In response to this, businesses need to make sure their risk assessments reflect this and they have the right policies in place. For our help with this, contact us today.

Photo by Mikey Harris on Unsplash

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