This article in the Sunday Times is a useful reminder to employers.
It tells the story of an individual (perhaps ironically an employment lawyer!) having an accident “at work” – luckily he was not too injured. “At work”, in this case, being his own home.
Whilst staff are working at home, employers should still think about their obligations under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. They should conduct a suitable and sufficient risk assessment of all of the work activities carried out by their employees – including homeworkers – to identify hazards and assess the degree of risk. If they don’t and an employee suffers an injury, he or she could potentially bring a personal injury claim against their employer arguing that they had breached their duty of care towards them.
- Do staff have the correct equipment? A safe place to work?
- Do staff feel able to "switch-off" and get sufficient down time?
This is certainly an area employers should think about seriously, especially with the latest government guidance encouraging people to stay working at home until March next year.
His experience illustrates one of the perils of working from home — and one of the potential liabilities for employers, which would usually carry out workplace health and safety checks