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Home working

Advice for employers and employees on home working and how to combat home working risks

​Home working is the ability to carry out work tasks from home and can take many forms. This could include

  • workers who divide their time between home and the workplace
  • mobile workers who work from home as an administrative base
  • workers performing overtime.

Sometimes the tasks are carried out

  • on a one off basis
  • for a short period
  • to allow rehabilitation for a worker returning after illness
  • to support a better work life balance.

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.

  1. Common risks for home workers
  2. Employers' duties to home workers
  3. Home working legislation

​1. Common risks for home workers

Actual hazards presented by home working will to some extent depend on the nature of the work being carried out. Some common home working hazards include

  • manual handling and upper limb disorders
  • lone working
  • driving for work
  • use of work equipment
  • hazardous substances and materials
  • display screen equipment (DSE)
  • slips, trips and falls
  • stress
  • electrical equipment.

If electrical equipment is provided by the employer for use in the home, the employer has responsibility for its maintenance and examination. Parts of the home worker's domestic electrical system, including electrical sockets and the system itself are the home owner's own responsibility.

Because homes are not designed to be workplaces, working from home may require a specific assessment and assurances for the employer that work can be carried out safely.  A decision about whether the work and the worker are suitable for home working will have to be made.

A risk assessment of the work activities and appropriate measures to reduce risks may include a need to visit the employee's home. This would be done with the cooperation of the home worker.

As an employer you should consider the following issues.

  • Insurances, for either mortgage or lease agreements, and for the loss or damage of equipment.
  • I.T. Equipment, suitable internet systems and remote access to databases.
  • Working hours, communication, isolation and support.
  • Where will the employee set up their desk/workstation so as not to interfere with family life?
  • Is the work a risk to others in the home such as children?
  • Would the home workers require specific adaptations to be able to perform the work due to disability?
  • The suitability of the home to act as a meeting place for work visitors.
  • Fire risks and the provision of extinguishers.
  • Storage of tools or materials.
  • Home and document security.
  • First aid provision and the recording and reporting requirements for accidents including those required under RIDDOR.
  • Is the worker a new and expectant mother?