Keeping your work from home employees safe

As a result of the coronavirus, over the last few years we have seen a shift to remote working or hybrid (half in the office, half at home) work. With this shift comes a risk that employers must be mindful of: As an employer, you have a legal responsibility to protect the health, safety and welfare of your employees, even when they work at home. The same health and safety rules apply to if your employees were in the office.

How many organisations can say that they have robust work from home health and safety policies and procedures? While an overarching corporate work health and safety (WHS) policy will serve as the backbone for any work conducted remotely, it should also be complemented by individual home assessments to ensure each employee’s work environment has been properly assessed for any risks with appropriate safety measures put in place.

So, what can employers advise their employees do?

Here are some things to consider when employees are working from home. Is there a:

  • A working smoke detector
  • An adequate ergonomic workstation set up for a laptop or desktop
  • A fire extinguisher readily available
  • A basic first aid kit easily accessible
  • A clear, unobstructed exit from the work area clear and unobstructed
  • All electrical cords and appliances are safely secured?
  • Are there any tripping hazards?
  • Are all floor coverings safe and non-slip?
  • Are there appropriate handrails on any stairs?
  • Is the lighting appropriate for the work being undertaken?
  • Is there proper ventilation and adequate heating/cooling?
  • Has the environment been cleared and sterilized from the risk of any contamination?

Ensuring your employees complete a checklist like this (and checking it yourself to make sure everything checks out) is just the first step towards supporting a home office that is a safe place to work from.

A more effective approach is to arrange for qualified safety consultants to undertake home visits or conduct virtual ergonomic and safe workplace assessments. Taking advantage of the digital age we live in, means that employees can log into a virtual world with an occupational health specialist who can conduct an ergonomic assessment or training seminar on how to set up a workstation or when to stretch and take measured breaks. This allows employers to ensure that employee’s at-home workstations are free from the risk of injuries or accidents, preventing any potential workplace injury to occur.

Lastly, while the physical health and safety of an employee working from home is of utmost importance, their emotional health and wellbeing needs to be considered as well. When we don’t see our colleagues for more than a few days, it can be difficult to gauge how they are feeling in relation to their job satisfaction, their workload, and their stress.

Bodycare Workplace Solutions are the injury prevention specialists. We partner with organisations to implement programs and strategies to ensure that your team can safely work from home and free from the risk of injury.

Contact us today if you would like to learn more about how you can safely support your employees both at home and at work.