COVID-19 has forced workers to rapidly adjust to new working conditions. Many workers have had to transition to new work from home arrangements. This has been a new and difficult experience for most workers. For some, the home may not be suited to working productively, or work has to be juggled with caring responsibilities. For others, the home may not be a safe or healthy working environment.
Employers have a legal duty to ensure the health and safety of employees, including at home or when employees are undertaking work outside of their normal work location. They must identify and manage both physical and psychological hazards related to working at home. These hazards may include:
- Increased workload and work demands
- Increased work-related stress
- Lack of tools or resources
- Poor communication and management of change
- Long working hours
- Poor work-station set up (desks, seating, lighting)
- Inadequate workplace amenities
Under health and safety laws, your employer must consult with workers on a plan to minimise risks to workers working from home. The plan must:
- Identify what risks to the health and safety of workers exist and which workers are affected
- Assess those risks, including their likelihood and potential to harm workers’ health and safety
- Implement controls that eliminate or minimise the risks so far as reasonably practicable
- Monitor and review the implemented controls.
If you have any concerns about your health and safety working from home, contact your health and safety representative (HSR). If do not have a HSR, get in touch with your union.
Funding for this factsheet was provided by:
- the Victorian Government as part of the uTech project; and
- the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Please note that the information given here is general information only and is not legal advice. For further assistance, it is recommended you speak to your union.