Working from home has quickly become the “new normal” especially in recent times.
Whilst working remotely is an excellent way to offer employees flexibility and allow employees to work in a comfortable home environment without having the hustle and bustle of the daily commute. It doesn’t come without risk.
Employers have a duty to conduct a risk assessment of their employees’ work activities, including any work executed from home. If the employer is unable to fulfil a complete risk assessment due to the many restrictions that are in place, they should provide their employees with guidance on how to work safely at home.
These assessments are put in place to minimise exposure of risk and ensure that the appropriate action is taken to reduce any possibility of harm to the employee.
If a suitable risk assessment is not carried out and employees are not provided with the proper equipment and workspace, harm may occur as a direct consequence.
If you are working from home without a proper workspace assessment or equipment having been provided such as: desk, chair, monitor and keyboard and they have not been correctly set up and adjusted to your specifications this can lead to a variety of ailments such as headaches, neck pain, back pain and muscular or tendon damage.
This may also contribute to a condition called RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) which is most common amongst people that work with computers. This condition mostly affects the wrists, hands, elbows and shoulders and upper back and is caused by overuse of the muscle and tendons, primarily caused by poor posture and repetitive tasks.
Employers can minimise risk by ensuring that the proper risk assessments are carried out, staff are taught how to use the equipment correctly and breaks are encouraged at regular intervals. You can find out more about the Workplace, Health, Safety & Welfare Regulations 1992 by clicking here.
If your employer has breached their statutory duties by failing to conduct a risk assessment or provide the necessary guidance on how to work at home safely which has resulted in harm, then you may be entitled to claim compensation for the harm caused.