The HSE has just announced that employees do not have to provide DSE risk assessments for home workers due to the current pandemic.
This may well leave employers thinking that they are off the hook and can let their staff just get on with it, but it is important to note that employers are still responsible for an employee’s health, safety and welfare so far as is reasonably practicable. Companies will have to ask themselves whether they are doing all they can to look after their work force.
This week there will be 10’s of thousands of people working full time from home for the first time due to COVID-19. Many people may have worked from home for a day or two from time to time and some may have a proper office and workstation setup. However the majority are likely to be slouched on the sofa or sitting on a chair at the dining table hunched over a laptop. This may be fine for a few days but could become problematic over time.
In the first instance we recommend that employees using a laptop are provided with a separate keyboard and mouse as a bare minimum. Laptops can then be put on a specialist stand, or on some boxes or books to get the screen to a more suitable height. We would suggest that employers who know of employees that have pre-existing health conditions make sure they are provided with an adequate workstation setup as a matter of urgency. We would strongly recommend that employees do not use their laptops when sitting slouched on a sofa or over a coffee table. Those people who do not have at least access to a dining table to work from, should be provided with appropriate furniture to allow them to work safely and productively.
Ergo at Work can provide remote home worker assessments. You may like to consider these as a priority for people with pre-existing injuries or discomfort.
For some handy tips on how to set-up your home workstation click here.