You’ve decided to ask your employer if you can work from home a day or two a week. Your employer has a duty of care to everyone who works for them, no matter where that work is undertaken.
If you work from home on a regular basis, or want to work from home, your employer has an obligation to make sure your home office environment is safe. They’ll need to carry out an audit / full health and safety check and risk assessment of any home office before approving a work from arrangement. The first step is completing an OHS checklist.
Before requesting a work from home arrangement check that your home complies. This checklist is to check off specific things to ensure that their home office complies with OHS requirements. For example:
- Is there a working smoke detector?
- Is there an ergonomic chair and adequately sized work surfaces?
- Is a fire extinguisher readily available?
- Is a basic first aid kit easily accessible?
- Are exits from the work area clear and unobstructed?
- Are all electrical cords and appliances safely secured?
- Are there any tripping hazards?
- Are all floor coverings safe and non-slip?
- Are there appropriate handrails on any stairs?
- Is the lighting appropriate for the work being undertaken?
- Is there proper ventilation and adequate heating/cooling?
Source - Charles Power Editor-in-Chief, Employment Law Practical Handbook