The law requires you to protect the health, safety and welfare of your staff (including non-employees, such as contractors) and prevent harm to any visitors to your offices and buildings.
There's a legal obligation on staff to cooperate with you on this.
The general aim of health and safety legislation is to:
You have the same duties of protection as when they are in the workplace, though this only applies 'as far as reasonably possible'.
Homeworkers must also take reasonable care of their own health and safety and that of anyone else who might be affected by what they do. This is likely to include other family members, neighbours, visitors and so on. It's their responsibility to report all employment-related hazards to their own or others' health.
Employers are required to undertake a suitable and sufficient risk assessment of all the work activities carried out by their workers. This involves checking for work-related safety risks, including fire, and risks to other people. This includes those who work from home or elsewhere.
In the case of homeworkers, it is best practice to visit their homeworking space to carry out the assessment, but where this isn't practical, you can give them a workplace health and safety questionnaire to complete. This should help you perform a risk assessment of the risks from working from home.
A risk assessment will involve:
Hazards can arise from electrical power supply and equipment, such as computers or from equipment and fittings in the room where the work activity is taking place.
Others things to consider include the workstation, desk, seating, lighting, heating and ventilation and general working conditions. You should also consider any negative mental impact on homeworking.
The following should be considered:
See the Health and Safety Executive's guide onfor more.