Since the global pandemic, working from home has become more popular and a growing number of professionals are making use of this opportunity.
As an employer, you have a duty of care to protect the health & safety of your employees, whether they’re in the office or working from home. Failure to do so may lead to monetary fines, production disruption, and business damages.
You should review assessments regularly to deal with health & safety risks on your employees' health whilst working from home.
In this guide, we’ll discuss what a home working risk assessment is, why you need it, and how to introduce it in your workplace.
What is a home working risk assessment?
A home working risk assessment is a report which identifies and controls measures for safeguarding remote workers. It can be done in person or remotely.
As an employer, you are responsible to provide a suitable workstation, equipment, and furniture to employees who work from home. You should regularly check whether an individual can work safely from home in the first place.
Many businesses use health & safety risk assessments to identify inadequate workstation equipment and ergonomics.
Why do you need a home working risk assessment?
Anyone working from home, whether in an office or at the dining room table, is probably working in isolation. Mismanaging health & safety risks can impact these workers because they’re not under direct supervision.
Employers have a duty of care to ensure the safety of all staff working from home. As an employer, you should:
- Assess all risks for every task conducted at home.
- Provide equipment to ensure staff are safe.
- Implement measures to reduce or eliminate remote risks.
Communicate with home workers on a frequent basis to ensure safety measures are in place. As an employer, regularly assess their physical and mental health–ensuring they are healthy.
The easiest approach for this can be done through training employees on how to conduct a self-assessment. After that, they'll be able to report any incidents to you.
A risk assessment template helps you and your employees carry out home risk assessments that’s aligned to health & safety regulations.
How to manage home working risk assessments in your workplace
When helping your staff with home assessments, pay attention to risks and put measures in place. Here are suggestions which can help keep your employees healthy as they work from home:
Provide suitable display screen equipment
Most remote workers use display screen equipment (DSE) to deliver their daily tasks. When using computers, additional equipment may be needed.
For example, a monitor stand or a footrest may be required for home workers in some circumstances. Employers should identify this need when they carry out the assessment.
Using mobile equipment safely
There is always a chance of injury when manual handling is involved. Even at home, employees are at risk of this whilst moving and transporting equipment.
When using mobile equipment, employees should limit time spent on them and take frequent breaks.
There are practical ways to lessen the dangers of manual handling. You can protect remote employees by:
- Offering training on manual handling.
- Providing smaller and lighter equipment.
- Presenting wheeled cases or backpack style laptop cases.
- Issuing detachable keyboards.
Carry out fire safety processes
During the risk assessment, the employer and home workers must conduct fire safety processes. This includes checking flammable materials and ignition sources have been carefully controlled.
People working from home must have reliable fire alarm or smoke detector in place. And must have a fire escape plan available.
Fire safety is a legal requirement and must be carried out–regardless of where the employee is working.
Have proper first aid equipment
If the working activity is not high risk, such as desk work, home workers won't need additional first aid supplies beyond what they already have.
A personal first aid kit should be kept on hand by someone who frequently travels or is on the go.
Provide mental health services
Developing strong bonds with your employees is beneficial to their mental health and helps reduce work-related stress. As the employer, make employees aware that working from home leads to limited social interaction.
Take measures to make remote workers stay healthy and feel like they're part of a team. Sometimes a brief morning meeting with lone workers can help with isolation, stress, and separation difficulties.
There are a variety of practical ways an employer can achieve this through. For example:
- Place meetings with management on a regular basis.
- Require home workers to work at the office for at least one day per week.
- Build a network of lone workers with other employees.
- Provide them support through helplines.
Get expert advice on home working risk assessments with Peninsula
Employers must be aware that all staff are legally under their care–even if they’re working from home.
Make sure you stick to the highest standards in order to protect their health and manage risks at home.