This blog is currently coming to you from 22,000 feet (and climbing). Sorry to do this to you but I am jetting off on holiday and, yes I love my work so much I thought I would work on the plane! Although don’t worry I don’t have a glass of fizz in my hand… yet!
This blog will address issues of looking after your employees whilst they work from home or whilst they are working out of the office. Rather fitting giving where I am currently sitting working. Anyway…
… sorry about the pause but I was taking a sip of my drink! Don’t worry I have spared you the photo of the glass although can’t promise it won’t pop up later.
One of the many questions asked by someone new to setting up a business is do I have to set up a safety committee?
Well although setting up a safety committee is not required, all employees have a legal right to be consulted about health and safety issues which affect them. Therefore, setting up a committee may be an effective way of doing this. If you have a recognised trade union, the union can nominate safety representatives.
If you happen to be a rather cool and savvy business owner, a bit like myself – haha nothing like boosting your own ego, and you allow your employees to work from home then don’t forget that you have to look after them as well.
Your responsibilities are very much the same as for employees who work on your premises. You should therefore carry out a risk assessment to eliminate or reduce the risks as far as is reasonably practicable. This should cover the home worker or anyone else who could be affected. Lets hope you don’t employ Mr & Mrs Smith aka Brangelina. Just imagine the risk assessment for the two of them!
Also you should ensure the equipment you provide is suitable for the purpose, properly maintained and so on. Can you imagine the amount of paperwork and work involved for all the ‘spy toys’ they have hidden at home. Although I have to say some of them would come in handy when stuck in a sticky situation. Need a quick escape, I know, I’ll just use my cape and jump out this window!
In the real world though the main concern for a typical homeworker – one who uses a computer and telephone – will be ensuring they have a suitable working environment and take adequate breaks. Although if they are anything like me it would be ensuring they don’t take too many… Oh, another cup of tea and homemade brownie? Don’t mind if I do!
What are the responsibilities, if any, when you send someone out of the office to go and work elsewhere?
Yes you are still responsible and you may have to consider a risk assessment of other premises, equipment, or if they are driving long distances. Whatever it is you will want to ensure they are safe. Don’t worry though your obligations don’t extend to accompanying them to an airport to check the plane. Although if they are going to work abroad in some sunny, warm climate (and not stuck in cold, rainy Aberdeen during the summer months) then you may well wish to accompany them but this will be more to do with the fact you want to escape than your H&S obligations! Yes, I managed to bring the fact that I am off on holiday into the blog, again.
Often, we get asked what, if any, safety precautions are required for visitors?
Well as they are coming onto your premises and might be bringing you lots of lovely work that will make you a millionaire (okay so we can all dream, can’t we?), you will probably want to look after them. Plus, and more importantly, you are responsible for the health and safety of all visitors and therefore you must take them into account in your risks assessments and systems to ensure they are adequately protected.
Anyway, that is enough from me… In other words, I can hear my glass of fizz calling my name. Until next time, stay safe, get law savvy and Cheers!