Homeworking Guidance for Employers: Maintaining Employee Health and Safety

10 Jul

It’s hard to believe, but many people have been working from home for over 3 months now. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it looks like homeworking will continue for some time and it could even be here to stay. Many businesses have seen the benefits of their employees working remotely and are wondering how they can continue to offer more flexibility in the future.

Now that it’s far from being a temporary measure for businesses to stop the spread of Coronavirus, it’s imperative that you ensure that the safety and health of your employees is being maintained whilst they work from home as it could start to have adverse effects on their wellbeing.

This includes ensuring that the working environment is suitable and that the setup of the workstation at home encourages good posture, to avoid musculoskeletal disorders developing or being worsened. We’ve created a video to help you and your employees work from home safely, which you can watch here.

How You Can Ensure Your Employees Are Working Safely

Despite not being in the office, employees should still carry out a DSE Homeworker Checklist which they can do themselves at home. You can register to receive our ready-made checklist here and issue it to all of your employees that are working from home.

Homeworkers should assess their setup and workstation and complete the checklist accordingly. Once completed, you should review the checklists and any issues that arise should be followed up by way of a Display Screen Equipment Risk Assessment by a competent person (or DSE Assessor).

For any individuals who have received Occupational Health Assessments previously, or anyone who highlights that a pre-existing condition is being worsened by working from home, it is recommended that these risk assessments are carried out by an Occupational Health professional.

DSE Risk Assessments can still be completed without the risk of entering someone’s home environment and carried out remotely through the use of photographs of the workstation (and ideally with the person using their workstation) or through the use of video calling. This will allow the assessor to identify any improvements required and ensure that the workstation is set up ergonomically.

The risk assessment process may identify the need for equipment to be provided to the homeworker and it would be for your business to establish how this will be achieved. This may include:

  • Collection of equipment from their usual workstation in the office.
  • Delivery of items from the office to homeworkers – if collection is not possible or practicable.
  • Hire of equipment – this may prove useful if equipment would not be required once the employee returns from working at home.
  • Purchase of equipment – this would be a necessity if the equipment would also be required for ergonomic working in the office, or if homeworking could become a permanent situation.

If items are to be collected or delivered from the office, this would also be subject to a risk assessment to identify any risks, such as manual handling and possible contact with others. Appropriate precautions would need to be adopted to comply with HSE guidance and government guidelines.

Can We Help Manage Your Homeworkers’ Risks?

If you do not currently have the provision of a competent person in-house to carry out DSE Risk Assessments, Thomas Carroll Management Services provide a number of solutions to assist, including:

  • DSE Assessor online training.
  • Virtual DSE Assessor Workshop (for up to 12 delegates) provided by one of our Health and Safety Consultants.
  • Provision of remote DSE Risk Assessments.

For more information and to discuss your business needs, please contact us today on 02920 853794 or email tcms@thomas-carroll.co.uk. Our team are fully operational from home and on hand to answer any queries you may have.