HSE Updates Guidance on Home Workers
07 May 2012
Following the Government’s review of health and safety legislation, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued revised guidance for employers on their duties as regards staff who work from home.
When the work carried out at home is office-type work that poses few health and safety risks, employers will only be responsible for the equipment they supply. However, it is important to remember that a risk assessment will still be required for all home workers using display screen equipment, which can be associated with neck, shoulder, back or arm pain, as well as fatigue and eyestrain. Guidance entitled ‘The Law on VDUs – An Easy Guide’ can be downloaded from http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/hsg90.pdf.
Where the home working involves a greater risk – for example working with adhesives or soldering – employers will need to identify the particular risks involved, ensuring not only that the equipment provided is in good condition but also that the correct personal protective equipment is provided.
Employers are advised to carry out a review of their home working arrangements and continue to keep records of risk assessments.
As well as specific duties under health and safety legislation, employers also owe their workforce a common law duty to take reasonable care to safeguard their health and safety, which includes a duty to control stress levels. Employers should ensure that their stress policy takes into account, and provides support where necessary to, home workers.
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