Advice for employers and employees on the risks of home working and how to combat risks
Home working is the ability to carry out work tasks from home and can take many forms. This could include
Sometimes the tasks are carried out
Many tasks are largely desk based but there are jobs performed by home workers that involve the use of equipment, machinery, or substances that may be harmful to their health or other people present in the home. This work could include light assembly work, or finishing off clothing on behalf of a larger organisation.
Although workers may be away from the workplace, health and safety legislation still applies to their activities. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act and associated Regulations and Guidance should be applied.
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 places the general duty on the employer to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of all employees including home workers. It also places duties on employees to take reasonable care of their own safety and that of others. They must cooperate with their employer to help them meet their legal obligations.
Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 places a duty on employers to assess and manage risks to their employees and others arising from work activities.
The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations (DSE) 1992 gives guidance to employers on how they can protect employees from any risks associated with using display screen equipment like computers and laptops.
Visit the display screen equipment section for more information
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 explain that employers must ensure that work equipment is maintained, in efficient working order and in good repair.
Visit the maintenance of equipment section for more information
Employees must co-operate with their employer to help them comply with health and safety duties and use all items provided by their employer in accordance with the training and instructions they receive.
From October 2015, the law changed for some
self-employed persons (external website). If their work activity poses no potential risk to the health and safety of other workers or members of the public, then their duties under health and safety law are reduced.
Self-employed persons still have a duty to protect employees and to conduct their undertakings in such a way as to ensure that it does not expose them, or others to health and safety risks.&
For information on workplace health, safety and wellbeing, contact your local health board team