Welcome to our Guidelines forum. Here you will find all you need to know about current HSA guidelines with regard to Remote Working.
Employers have specific duties to ensure the safety, health and welfare at work of all employees. These duties include the employee’s workspace where employees are required to work from home.
Employers may find the following frequently asked questions and answers useful when determining whether working from home is suitable.
Employees will also find them useful in preparing themselves and the workspace in their home, if their employer has asked them to work from home.
What responsibilities do I have as an employer in relation to home workers?
Responsibility for health and safety at work rests with the employer whether or not that work is being done at the worker’s home.
Employers need to consult with their employees to assure themselves:
What equipment must I provide for my employees to enable them to work from home?
What questions do I need to ask employees in relation to their temporary home work space?
As an employer, you must determine whether the temporary home workspace is suitable for the work you want the employee to do.
Examples of questions you could ask about the temporary workspace include the following:
As an employer what do I need to consider when preparing vulnerable workers, those with disabilities, or sensitive risk workers to temporarily work from home? (e.g. pregnant employees, young persons and those with mobility needs)
In requesting an employee from a sensitive risk group to work from home, the employer should consider the suitability of the person to the work in the context of their home working space. It is essential that work tasks and working conditions do not adversely affect the health of employees with a disability, pregnant employees, and young workers.
The employer should consider the following in relation to the employee’s work and workspace:
What do I need to consider where employees are using computers and digital technology when home working?
Employers should consider doing online ergonomic assessments of an employee’s home workspace through video calls or through the use of other technology platforms in order to make sure that the workspace is set up correctly.
In the current circumstances (COVID-19) the employer may adopt a two- stage approach to the ergonomic risk assessment process:
The employer engages with their employees who are working from home and sends out a Remote Work questionnaire to employees. Employees will need to complete the questionnaire. The completed questionnaire should capture information such as the type of equipment needed by each employee for their home workspace and information on whether or not the employee has any
musculoskeletal discomfort such as neck or wrist discomfort. The employer needs to follow up and address any issues identified in the completed questionnaire.
The employer should consider including the following questions in the Remote Work Questionnaire, however, this is not an exhaustive list of questions.
After the initial issues have been addressed at stage 1 including the provision of equipment for the home workspace, the employer needs to plan for the completion of online ergonomic risk assessments for all employees who are remote working.
This can be done by video calls or through the use of other technology platforms in order to make sure that the workspace is set up correctly. It is reasonable to carry out the online ergonomic risk assessments over a phased time period and priority should be given to those employees who have reported musculoskeletal discomfort. The ergonomic risk assessment needs to take account of the following:
The employer needs to record any specific issues identified at an employee’s home workspace and agree on corrective actions with the employee. Once any corrective actions are addressed there should be sign off by the employer and employee.
If the employer makes any changes to an employee’s workspace at home they need to take account of public health guidance.
Further information is available at the following:
What other general supports and means of communication do I need to put in place for home workers?
Working from home can result in employees feeling isolated, working longer hours and blurring the lines between work and family life. It is important that employees know they have support at all times during working hours.
Employers should consider the following:
Where can I find further information?
Further information is available at www.hsa.ie or you can email your enquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For daily updates on Covid-19, visit www.gov.ie/health-covid-19.
To make an enquiry about a Remote Work Solution for your staff contact us today:
James Hackett Email: email@example.com Mobile: 087 256 8802
Martin Cullinan Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile: 087-255 6829
Information source for this document: https://www.hsa.ie/eng/topics/covid-19/covid-19_faqs_for_employers_and_employees_in_relation_to_home-working_on_a_temporary_basis/