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Are you working from home safely? COMMENT.

A HOMEWORKER is defined as a person who works in his or her own home as opposed to the workplace of the employer, for remuneration, which results in a product or service as specified by the employer, irrespective of who provides the equipment, materials or other inputs used.

So, perhaps knowing that persons' occasionally performing work from home, are not homeworkers, is a good start? For "legal beavers" consider the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992, requiring the control of hazards and don't forget fire prevention (there were 39,600 home fires in 2013-14).

The homeworker carries some responsibility such as the safety of flooring, electricity, gas, heating, lighting and general housekeeping. After all it is their home, so that is to be expected.

Display Screen Equipment (DSE) risks are easily overlooked when working at home. Many homeworkers do not have the luxury of dedicated space and therefore make-do by setting up a workspace at their dining table or kitchen worktop, is not acceptable.

Risk assessments must be completed by the homeworker and reviewed by the line manager. The homeworker involved must be given training in the assessment process, in the first place. The risk assessment should take into account the individual's health, maturity, trustworthiness, self-sufficiency, self-discipline and good time management. Health issues may affect someone working alone due to loneliness, lack of general interaction and not feeling part of a team. It is essential that homeworkers'stay in regular contact with colleagues to ensure a positive home/work life balance and perhaps the occasion visit from the line manager would be considered a nice welfare touch? The actual work may involve additional risks such as ergonomics, the employer must consider the provision of suitable desk, chair, working furniture and IT equipment, (if the homeworker does not have).

So the training of our homeworkers on safety assessments, clear checklist questions and home visit seems a good initial process to follow.

May 2016 INSIDER 83 Douglas Cameron Head of Health and Safety Services E: T: 0141 271 5555

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Insider Monthly
Date:May 3, 2016
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