With a trend to more employees working away from traditional office settings employers must comply with Work Health Safety Legislation regardless of where their staff members work.
The Work Health and Safety Act (2011) defines a workplace as “a place where work is carried out for a business or undertaking and includes any place where a worker goes, or is likely to be, while at work”.
Employers should consider the risk and their obligations when allowing employees to work from home. A workplace may be an employee’s home, other non-office location, a hotel or a vehicle.
Employees also have obligations to maintain their own safety at work.
Sitemed recommends employers utilise Sitemed’s “work from home safety risk assessment” service to ensure hazards and potential risks are identified and managed. Common issues for working from home are lack of an ergonomic office environment with employees working on kitchen tables and benches with static chairs, poor lighting in work areas and non-adjustable computer screens.
Other considerations relate to privacy and confidentiality of company and client based information and ensuring data security in a home based environment where areas of the home office and IT equipment may be shared with family members.
Other potential issues are inadequate surge and electrical protection, tripping hazards from pets and power cords, lack of electrical testing and tagging, inadequate smoke detectors and fire-fighting capacity and mixing of work and non-work activities.
Sitemed assists employers with the preparation of work from home agreements which outline the agreed terms for performing home based work e.g. which areas of the home will be used for work purposes, relevant equipment to be used for work purposes, hours of work, work breaks, minimum requirements for data protection, electrical and fire safety among others.
Sitemed provides work from home safety assessments Australia wide.