Expanded guidance on home working
The HSE has just published expanded guidance on home working. It reminds us that employers have the same health and safety responsibilities for those working at home as any other worker.
The guidance can be found on https://www.hse.gov.uk/home-working/employer/index.htm
It is split into five sections:
The guidance is for anyone who employs home workers, including those who split their time between their workplace and home. It has been redesigned and expanded to provide more detail on straightforward actions to manage home workers’ health and safety.
There is also a link to advice for homeworkers themselves https://www.hse.gov.uk/home-working/worker/index.htm
Make sure you have risk assessment that covers home workers. It is important to keep a balanced and proportionate approach for home workers. In most cases you do not need to visit them to ensure their health and safety, but you should make sure they have a healthy and safe environment to work in.
Stress and Mental Health
You must protect workers from stress at work and this applies equally to home workers as any other workers. Home workers will face many of the same issues as any other worker, but it can be more difficult to provide adequate support and maintain social links. People who are deprived of social contact through work can feel isolated or disconnected, bringing on pressure and stress or aggravating pre-existing mental health problems.
There are practical things you can do to help manage the risk of stress and mental health problems for home workers, such as involving them in completing a stress risk assessment. These can help identify potential problems and solutions https://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/risk-assessment.htm
Working with display screen equipment (DSE) at home
You must protect your workers from health and safety risks from working on a computer or laptop at home. Check to see if the DSE regulations apply to your workers. Where the regulations do apply, you should carry out a DSE assessment for individual workers. https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l26.pdf
Working environment and accidents
You must take reasonable steps to make sure your workers have a safe place to work when at home.
Electrical equipment – ask your workers to visually check for any damage to sockets, plugs or leads used in connection with their work. Give them advice on the hazards of overloaded extension cables.
You are only responsible for electrical equipment you have provided to your workers, but you should make sure it is being used in a safe environment.
Slips and trips – provide advice on how to minimise the risks of slips and trips by keeping their work area clear of obstructions, spillages, and trailing wires.
Emergencies – ensure your workers know what to do in an emergency and consider what you would do if you could not get in contact with a home worker.
Lone working – there will risks for those with no direct supervision or anyone to help if things go wrong. https://www.hse.gov.uk/lone-working/index.htm
Reporting accidents for home workers – not every incident in a person’s home will be reportable. An incident may be reportable under RIDDOR if it occurred because of:
- the work activity being done.
- the equipment you have provided to carry out that work.
HSE has produced guidance to help you decide what needs to be reported under RIDDOR. https://www.hse.gov.uk/riddor/reportable-incidents.htm