Employers Caught Out By Legal Work From Home Requirements
You need to treat your house like an office when working from home. Believe it or not, this is a legal requirement.
The aggressive expansion of COVID-19 has exposed a glaring deficiency in the business continuity plans of several organisations. Additionally, it has left many to hurriedly adapt their response to enable working from home and preserve business as usual.
Events of the past few weeks, in particular, have caused Australians to reconsider our ability to effectively respond to the unique risks posed by the pandemic.
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Are you ensuring the health and safety of employee work from home setups?
Work health and safety (WHS) regulations have been overlooked amidst the myriad considerations for businesses. As a result, COVID-19 response plans may fail to properly address critical legal requirements surrounding working in a home office environment, emergency preparedness and remote staff response.
Our current situation concerning wellbeing at work demonstrates the need to maintain a higher level of competency and preparedness. These preparations are in keeping with an employer’s responsibility to provide a safe working environment under the law.
Since consideration of staff’s physical and mental wellbeing now extends to the home, businesses that have not provided the correct staff training are currently exposed.
Work from home safety
Usually, we rely upon the safety systems and infrastructure within the buildings our employees inhabit. This extends beyond fire safety systems and mechanical components to equally cover wardens and emergency training and responsiveness.
Working from home removes a significant amount of these controls and resources. Most homes aren’t equipped to the same level of safety and vary wildly in their layout and inherent risks. However, employers are expected to comply with WHS regulations and to provide digital infrastructure to support staff to perform business functions remotely.
What staff training is required by law?
- Basic emergency management
- First response training
- Health, safety and environment, such as ergonomics, physical safety and mental wellbeing
How to avoid health and safety risks with online training
This brings us to the necessity of training to avoid liability and the consequence of workplace-related claims. A geographically scattered workforce is not ideal when administering training on safety requirements, regulations and guidelines. From a WHS perspective, each home office environment is considered a workplace.
The employer is held responsible for any injuries or incidents that occur at any of these locations. As a result, each employer is legally required to provide staff with the necessary resources and knowledge to maintain a safe and compliant workspace .
Solving this problem is thankfully quite simple today. The surge in online connectivity and the availability of networked devices has given us an opportunity to make essential training measures available online.
In response to the shift in working arrangements prompted by COVID-19, we saw a need to develop a remotely accessible way to train and maintain competency across a workforce. With the help of HendryIQ, our online training portal, we established 3 simple training modules to help staff and employers:
- Emergency planning and first response
- Health, safety and environment
- COVID-19 hygiene and awareness
In these particularly difficult times, sign up to access Hendry’s work from home training modules and keep your staff safe during COVID-19.
Digital work health and safety training
This is your opportunity to minimise risk to your business and staff during COVID-19 with the help of our digital training modules. Get in touch with our Emergency Planning Team.Discover More