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Working from Home – Feb 2012

Working from Home – Feb 2012

Workplace Health & Safety Implications

Workplace Health and Safety laws apply to workers who are working from home, either on a full-time basis or on a part-time basis.

Both the home worker and the PCBU (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking) have an obligation under the WHS Act to ensure workplace health and safety no matter where the work is done.

Before entering into a work-from-home arrangement, both the PCBU and the worker should consider a range of factors including communication, managing work flows, use of equipment, workplace health and safety and workers' compensation requirements.

Both parties must take reasonable steps to ensure a worker's work area at home meets workplace health and safety requirements. An assessment of the work area should be carried out before the worker starts regular work-from-home arrangements.

Factors to consider include:

  • Ergonomics of the work area
  • Risks associated with trips and falls
  • Electrical safety - overloading power boards with too many plugs is not uncommon
  • Arrangements for communication
  • Personal security
  • Effects of working in isolation
  • Excessive noise

The Workplace Safety Inspection Checklist in the Work Safety Interactive online system is ideal for this assessment.

PS It's easy to see examples of how NOT to work from home.

Go to your favourite IMAGE search engine, enter Working from Home and click Search. Click Images to see some great examples - people using their computers whilst slouching on the sofa, lying on the floor,balancing children on their hips, etc.

Romantic yes. Healthy, Safe and Sustainable - No.