Home working

Information on the risks to employees working at home

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 co-operation 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?