The official COVID guidelines are asking people who can, to work from home. For many, this is a very viable option for employees and employers who are remaining open for business. This short article sets out some of the key employer and employee responsibilities whilst working from home so could be useful for SHEQ managers that are currently risk assesments. Further guidance and regulations is available from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), and that guidance expands on employer and employee responsibilities in different areas of work. It states that employers and employees should be practical, flexible and sensitive to each other's situation when working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
ACAS states that employers should:
It is clear that a considerable support network is needed to ensure full cooperation and compliance by all parties involved. Guidance also covers a variety of other workplace topics, including equipment and health and safety. By law, employers are individually responsible for the health and safety of all employees, including those working from home. During the coronavirus pandemic, it's very unlikely that employers can carry out usual health and safety risk assessments at an employee's home, given the unique circumstances of the pandemic and the relevant government guidelines. However, an employer should still check that:
Furthermore, there may also be a case of equipment malfunction through use at home. Employers should check the details of their insurance to make sure they're covered for an employee working from home if they're using business equipment. It also needs to cover them against a claim by a third party.
Employees have a responsibility to take reasonable care of their own health and safety. Anyone working from home should keep in regular contact with their manager. They should also tell their manager about:
If an employee also has some work tasks that can be done safely away from their home, they should make sure they have access to the right equipment for those duties. For example, this might include having your work laptop or desktop computer with you. Along with this technical equipment comes knowledge of the internal systems included within the product. Lastly, employees should check there are no issues with them working from home. They can do this by confirming with their home insurer, mortgage provider or landlord.
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