Tips for Homeworkers

Homeworking can present challenges to both employers and employees. For employers, this can include managing staff who work on their own and away from the main business base. For employees, it can include overcoming feelings of isolation and managing the boundaries between home and work life.

Employers have a duty of care for all their employees, and the requirements of the health and safety legislation apply to homeworkers. The employer is responsible for carrying out a risk assessment to check whether the proposed home workplace’s ventilation, temperature, lighting, space, chair, desk and computer, or any kind of workstation, and floor are suitable for the tasks the homeworker will be carrying out.

The employer is responsible for the equipment it supplies, but it is the employee’s responsibility to rectify any flaws in the home highlighted by the assessment. Once the home workplace has passed the assessment, it is the employee who is responsible for keeping it that way.

However, it is essential to keep in mind that you are responsible for the health, safety and welfare of your home workers, even though they are not working from your premises. You have an obligation to carry out a Health & Safety Risk Assessment on the home worker’s premises, and to ensure that any requirements of your Employers’ Liability Insurance are met.

Employers must also:

  • ensure that the equipment the home worker uses is fit for purpose
  • test, certify and maintain any electrical equipment you provide (such as a company laptop)
  • ensure that lighting levels and computer glare are at appropriate levels – and don’t forget that home workers are also entitled to an eye test paid for by their employer
  • reduce the risk of trips and falls by ensuring home workers tidy away loose cables
  • provide adequate training to allow the employee to work safely
  • create an emergency plan so that the alarm can be raised and medical attention sought without delay
  • maintain appropriate records of serious accidents, illness or injuries.

It is also important to properly assess potential home workers to ensure that they don’t have a medical condition that would make it unsafe for them to work alone, and that they aren’t assigned tasks that should not be undertaken unaccompanied.

If you require advice or assistance, please contact us.

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