The new Government advice is to work at home where possible. We’ve asked how this applies to the manufacturing sector and their response is below:
- If it is impossible for you to work from home, you are able to go to work. For example, this will apply to those who do manual labour, such as in the construction and manufacturing industries, as well as those who provide services that cannot be done from home.
- You are able to go to work if you absolutely have to, unless you are a vulnerable member of society, in which case we urge you to stay at home as per the guidance.
So, we thought we’d put together some brief guidance on what, as both an employer and employee, should be in place to ensure home working is carried out in a safe manner.
As an employer, you have the same health and safety responsibilities for home workers as for any other workers, so need to consider this during the COVID-19 crisis period.
When someone is working from home, permanently or temporarily, as an employer you should consider:
- How will you keep in touch with them?
- What work activity will they be doing (and for how long)?
- Can it be done safely?
- Do you need to put control measures in place to protect them?
Download our short document: Tips on Managing Home Workers
The employer should:
- Carry out a health and safety risk assessment at the employee’s home. This risk assessment shall ensure that the proposed workstation’s floor, ventilation, temperature, lighting, space, chair, desk and computer (or any other equipment) are suitable for the tasks required of the homeworker. Here is a template for this purpose.
- The employer is responsible for the equipment it supplies, but it is the responsibility of the employee to rectify any flaws in the home highlighted by the assessment.
- Once the home workplace is passed as safe, it is the responsibility of the homeworker to keep it that way and to take reasonable care of their health and safety.
The homeworker should:
- Act in a professional manner at all times during their normal working hours.
- Comply with all relevant organisational policies and procedures; and with reasonable instructions.
- Staff must not have the role of principal carer while working from home.
- Homeworkers must take reasonable care of their own health and safety, as well as that of other people such as family members, neighbours and visitors. They must also ensure that they use work equipment correctly.
- The requirements of the Organisation’s Lone Working procedure must be followed.
There are some simple steps you can take to reduce the risks from display screen work:
- breaking up long spells of DSE work with rest breaks (at least 5 minutes every hour) or changes in activity
- avoiding awkward, static postures by regularly changing position
- getting up and moving or doing stretching exercises
- avoiding eye fatigue by changing focus or blinking from time to time
Stress and mental health
It is important to recognise that home working can cause work-related stress and affect people’s mental health. Being away from managers and colleagues could make it difficult to get proper support. If contact is poor, workers may feel disconnected, isolated or abandoned
- Keep in regular contact through phone and online means.
- It is also important to have an emergency point of contact and to share this so people know how to get help if they need it.