Working from Home
I have been approached by many of my clients both employers and employees regarding working from home due to the Covid 19 restrictions.
Under section 48 of the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2017 an employer must manage any risks to the health and safety of and employer and have effective communication with that employee. Health and safety of an employee includes both the physical and mental health considering the effect of isolation upon that employee.
An employer must take reasonable steps regarding an employee’s health and safety when working from home by completing a risk assessment and provide a working from home policy which:
a. clearly sets out how to perform their work duties safely;
b. states how and when the employer will inspect the home environment for safety issues;
c. provide the manner in which an employee should report any potential any health; safety issues; and
d. how to report any injuries that occur during working time.
The requirement for inspection is necessary to ensure that they have taken all reasonable steps to identify that your home workplace is safe should a workers compensation claim be made. The Workplace Health and Safety Act of 1995 provides that all employees working from home will still be covered for workers compensation if they sustain any type of injury during the course of carrying out their work. The good news is that taking a brief break to get a cup of coffee or accomplish a task as directed by your employer may be seen as being “in the course of employment”. There are several cases where the courts have found that an injury at home during a break, occurred during the course of their employment.
It should be noted that an employee has a corresponding obligation to ensure their own safety. They should set aside a separate work area away from the interference of family and others during their work time.
As always relationships are reciprocal requiring respect and mutual understanding. If I can assist you with any of these matters please do not hesitate in contacting me on 0419 233 670.