Working from Home…
Legal Duties, Practical Advice and Resources
We are all very aware of the extent and potential severity of the COVID-19 spread. The impact on workplaces is extensive. The current and correct response is to ensure that as many workers as possible are working from home to reduce the amount and rate of spread of the infection. This will allow us to “flatten the curve” and give our healthcare infrastructure a fighting chance at dealing with this virus.
With all this in mind, it is important to realise that working from home is still regarded by the health and safety law as a workplace. The definition of a workplace by the Model Australian WHS Legislation is as follows…
A workplace is a place where work is carried out for a business or undertaking and includes any place where a worker goes, or is likely to be, while at work.
So, our regular duties still apply, as we have “workers” working in a “workplace”. As a quick reminder here the businesses duty is to ensure the workers’ safety so far as reasonably practicable. For a more extensive summary of health and safety duties check out my Youtube video.
Practical Advice and Resources
To ensure the safety of workers at home there are a couple of things that need to be in place. Firstly I think it is important to have a basic working from home WHS procedure, so that it is clear to all parties what the requirements are and what the limitations are to working from home. It is also important to have a checklist that can be used to ensure the safety of the home work environment. I have placed links to examples of these two documents below. These can be used as a template to assist in creating your own procedures. Obviously, any workplace procedures will need to be modified to be company-specific.
Home Based Worker Procedure
Home Based Worker Checklist
Please feel free to contact Momentum if you have any questions about working from home or COVID-19 preparation in general.