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HSE - HEALTH AND SAFETY EXECUTIVE - Protecting Home Workers

12 Jun 2020

Protect home workers

Coronavirus (COVID-19): update

This information has been updated to take account of working arrangements during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

As an employer, you have the same health and safety responsibilities for home workers as for any other workers.

When someone is working from home, permanently or temporarily, as an employer you should consider:

  • How will you keep in touch with them?
  • What work activity will they be doing (and for how long)?
  • Can it be done safely?
  • Do you need to put control measures in place to protect them?

Lone working without supervision

There will always be greater risks for lone workers with no direct supervision or anyone to help them if things go wrong.

Keep in touch with lone workers, including those working from home, and ensure regular contact to make sure they are healthy and safe.

If contact is poor, workers may feel disconnected, isolated or abandoned. This can affect stress levels and mental health.

Working with display screen equipment

For those people who are working at home on a long-term basis, the risks associated with using display screen equipment (DSE) must be controlled. This includes them doing workstation assessments at home.

There is no increased risk from DSE work for those working at home temporarily. So in that situation employers do not need to ask them to carry out home workstation assessments.

However, employers should provide workers with advice on completing their own basic assessment at home. This practical workstation checklist (PDF)- Portable Document Format may help them.

There are some simple steps people can take to reduce the risks from display screen work:

  • breaking up long spells of DSE work with rest breaks (at least 5 minutes every hour) or changes in activity
  • avoiding awkward, static postures by regularly changing position
  • getting up and moving or doing stretching exercises
  • avoiding eye fatigue by changing focus or blinking from time to time

Links:

HSE:  https://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/workers/home.htm?utm_source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=coronavirus&utm_term=home-workers-1&utm_content=digest-4-jun-20

Lone Working:  https://www.hse.gov.uk/lone-working/employer/index.htm

Working Safely with Display Screen equipment:  https://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/dse/index.htm

Display Screen workstation check list:   https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/ck1.pdf

Stress and mental health: https://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/workers/home.htm?utm_source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=coronavirus&utm_term=home-workers-1&utm_content=digest-4-jun-20#stress-mental-health