Employees working from home
Your health and safety obligations towards home workers
As an employer you have the same responsibilities for ensuring the health and safety of home workers as you would for staff based at your premises. Your duties are likely to include:
- carrying out a health and safety risk assessment - see managing the risks in your business
- purchasing compulsory employers' liability insurance if you don't already have it - see liability insurance
- ensuring equipment is fit for its purpose
- testing, certifying and maintaining electrical equipment provided by the business
- ensuring computers can be used comfortably and without disturbing glare, see how to ensure your employees are operating computers safely
- making sure lighting levels are appropriate
- avoiding trailing cables to reduce the risks of trips and falls
- ensuring staff are suitably trained to work safely
- keeping records of, and if necessary reporting, any serious accidents, illnesses or injuries experienced by home workers
Remember, too, that employees who use computers regularly - including home workers - are entitled to an eye test paid for by their employer.
Home workers must take reasonable care of their own health and safety, as well as that of other people such as family members, neighbours and visitors. They must also ensure they use work equipment correctly.
During the coronavirus pandemic it's unlikely that the employer will have been able to carry out the usual health and safety risk assessments at the employee's home. However, the employer should ensure that:
- the employee feels the work they're being asked to do at home can be done safely
- the employee has the right equipment to work safely
- the line manager maintains regular contact with the employee, including making sure they don't feel isolated
- reasonable adjustments are made for an employee who has a disability
The employee should also keep in regular contact with their line manager about health and safety risks and homeworking arrangements that need to change.
For information on your business' health and safety duties, see what you need to do about health and safety.
If you have employees who use their home as a base and generally don't work from your premises, you may have additional health and safety responsibilities to them. See how to ensure the safety of lone workers.