It would be fair to say that most of us have been caught up in a whirlwind of change over the past 6 months. Probably the last thing that has been on our minds are the health and safety risks on the home-worker. With millions of workers worldwide suddenly being thrown into a home-working environment, there are always going to be challenges to overcome. However, what many firms are unaware of is that according to HSE , employers have the same health and safety responsibilities for home workers as for any other workers.

Whilst at first home working was regarded as a temporary measure set in place to reduce the spread of Covid-19, the past few months have changed the way we work forever, allowing home working to become an accepted part of the future plans for many workforces.

Here at Habit Action, having had our own concerns on how we make sure our home-workers health and safety needs are adequately taken care of, we got in touch with Worksafe UK to ask for advice.

The key recommendation they made to us was to carry out a Home-Worker Risk Assessment and a DSE Risk Assessment where necessary for all home-workers. So what is the difference between the two?

Home-Worker Risk Assessment:

  • This is an assessment of people working from home regardless of whether they are using a computer.
  • This needs to be carried out for anyone who is expected to work from home either implied or contractually
  • What this assessment covers are things like lone working considerations, insurance, electrical safety, emergency evacuation plans, the stress factor of working from home, and the actual home environment itself.

DSE Risk Assessment:

  • This is an assessment of a computer user at their workstation and the immediate surroundings of their environment.
  • This needs to be carried out for anyone who’s job involves using a computer. This applies to both working from home and working in the office.
  • This typically covers things like the chair, the table, the lighting, the temperature, air quality, mouse, and keyboard

As far as carrying out these risk assessments goes, it’s just not practical for employers to physically go to each of their employee’s homes to take the assessment, however with the help of technology this can easily be overcome. We were advised to book in a call via Zoom, or any other live video platform, to conduct the assessment remotely. To help ensure the success of these sessions, we were advised to send out a questionnaire around how each home-worker’s workstation is set up. This not only gives the employer a bit of a preview of how each employee is working, but it also enables them to prioritise who may be in the most high-risk working environment.

So whether you are an employee or an employer, now is the time to think seriously about whether home working may be posing a risk on your long term wellbeing and if so, how you can eliminate these risks. Find out more here about how you can work comfortably from home or follow this link for more detail and resources on the home-worker risk assessment.

If you’re one of the many organisations that are still unsure about what your future workplace needs will be, we have a tried, tested and proven process built from our evidence based design methodology that will clarify and determine what your workspace should incorporate. Contact us on +44(0)20 8991 6057 to know more.

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