Health and Safety at Home: Your Employer’s Responsibility

As we all know, the last year has seen a massive change in the way in we work.

Since the government has declared that we’re currently only meant to be going into work if we “cannot reasonably work from home”, many of us are doing our jobs from spare bedrooms, kitchen tables or sofas.

With benefits for both employers and workers, many businesses have signalled their intention to maintain home-working in the future. But what should they be doing to maintain your welfare?

What employers should do

At home, your employer is still responsible for your work-related health and safety. The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 may not cover home-working, but employers would still be expected to look after your health and safety.

Your employer will have to ensure that your work can be done from home. They’ll also have to check that your specific home is suitable for the type of work you’re carrying out. For most office-based roles, this won’t be a problem. But other work could bring more risks – like if you’re making things or you have to use special equipment, such as cameras or machinery.

To ensure your safety, your employer should carry out a risk assessment of your work activities and identify any hazards. You can do it yourself, but your employer is still responsible for ensuring it’s done.

The best thing to do is to work with your employer to identify hazards and come up with a plan to manage them.

What you should do

You’ll have certain responsibilities when it comes to working from your home. Your employer isn’t there to identify any new risks to your health that may crop up – so you’ll have to tell them. You’ll have to ensure you’re taking care of your own welfare.

Work with your employer to keep yourself safe and well. They should provide you with their health and safety policy – and it’s up to you to follow it. If they haven’t, request it.

Musculoskeletal disorders are some of the most common work-related injuries and illnesses in the UK. When you work from home, you may not have the same equipment you would have in your workplace. This can lead to poor posture and repetitive strain injuries. The NHS has provided tips on sitting properly to help minimise these disorders.

Your mental health

It’s not just your physical health your employer should pay attention to. It’s been a hugely challenging year for many. As a result, many have experienced mental health problems.

The NHS’ Every Mind Matters campaign has said that “feeling stress, boredom, anxiety and uncertainty is also completely normal”. Many of us are worried about our health, our jobs and our families.

This highlights how important it is not to neglect your mental health at this time. If you are feeling worried or are dealing with other mental health issues, you should try to speak to your employer – especially if it affects your work. As Acas explains, they could help with problems like managing your workload or trying to juggle work and childcare.

Your employer has a duty of care to you – even when you’re not in the office. They should do all they can to keep you healthy and well.

If you’ve had an accident at work that was a direct result of your employer’s negligence in that duty of care to you, it’s possible that you could make a compensation claim. If you’re not sure whether you have a valid claim, get in touch.

Our friendly advisors will help you work out what your options are, helping you decide what the best course of action for you is.


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