With our world getting smaller over the last few weeks, and Social Distancing becoming our new norm, many employees are now setting up office from home where they can.
Here in Australia, model Work Health and Safety laws still apply if workers are required to work from home. We’ve checked with Safe Work Australia (click here to visit their site) and found a summary of the guidelines for employers.
- Minimising Risk
- Existing Policies and Procedures
- Understanding New Risks
What you can do to minimise risk in the controlled environment of your workplace is quite different to what you can do when your employees are working from home, but if you can, you should:
- provide guidance on what is a safe home office environment, including what a good work station set up looks like and how to keep physically active
- require workers to familiarise themselves and comply with good ergonomic practices, for example by referring to a self-assessment checklist
- maintain daily communication with workers
- provide continued access to an employee assistance program, and
- appoint a contact person in the business that workers can talk to about any concerns.
Existing Policies and Procedures
You should think about who your existing policies and procedures apply when working from home, including:
- notification of incidents, injuries hazards and changes in circumstances
- consultation and review of work health and safety processes, and
- attendance, timesheets, leave and other entitlements and arrangements.
Understanding New Risks
Working from home may change, increase or create work health or safety risks. To understand these risks, you must consult with workers. Possible new risks include:
- physical risks from poor work environment, such as workstation set up, heat, cold, lighting, electrical safety, home hygiene and home renovations, and
- psychosocial risks such as isolation, high or low job demands, reduced social support from managers and colleagues, fatigue, online harassment and family and domestic violence.
For more resources on working from home, follow these links: