Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, employers are required to have arrangements in place to protect workers from occupational health and safety risks. These responsibilities don’t just apply to on-site workers; remote workers must also be protected. Applicable to most organisations, the following guidance can help employers keep remote workers safe:
- Assess risk. Employers are legally required to properly assess employee risks. These risk assessments should be extended to include remote workers. Additionally, questionnaires and self-assessment tools can be used to check that remote workers feel safe and healthy in their respective work environments. Depending on assessment results, additional risk control measures may be necessary.
- Prioritise mental well-being. Remote workers can be left feeling isolated. If not addressed, this issue can negatively affect workers’ mental well-being. As such, employers should consider asking employees to complete stress assessments to identify problems proactively. Further, remote employees should be included in any company-wide events and have regular keep-in-touch meetings to lessen isolation.
- Adhere to Display Screen Equipment (DSE) regulations. These regulations apply to workers who use DSE daily for continuous periods of at least an hour. Employers should conduct DSE risk assessments with all remote workers to ensure they are working with a comfortable, sustainable posture. Also, it’s important to make sure the equipment employees are using is safe and suitable for their duties.
- Protect against accidents. Employers should provide remote workers with advice on how to minimise risks from common hazards, such as electrical equipment concerns and slips and trips. Workers should be encouraged to visually check sockets, plugs and leads for any signs of damage, as well as avoid overloading extension cables. Finally, employees should be reminded to keep their work area clear of obstructions, spillages and trailing wires.
Remote workers will face many of the same issues as other employees, but it can be more difficult for employers to provide adequate support. However, it’s imperative to conduct proper risk assessments and consider remote workers’ needs in order to adhere to legal duties and keep these employees safe. For more information, visit the HSE website, or contact one of our risk professionals today.