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Teleworking – Has your organisation considered these 7 key safety obligations?

If any of your employees work from home, occasionally or as a regular arrangement, then you will be aware of the work health and safety obligations that apply to your organisation. You will need to implement appropriate guidelines, policies, procedures, and education for those individuals, to keep the workforce and you, safe!

As a specialist in the provision of a simple, robust screening and induction solution, and as a contemporary organisation, WorkPro is committed to highlighting and educating our customers on safety related induction matters, and keeping the Officer of an organisation compliant. So, where do you start to consider the safety components of someone who is ‘teleworking’?

The following is some guidance information to help you to understand the areas that need consideration and help you to prepare your business for workers who will undertake home-based work.

Firstly, let’s be clear about the definition of a teleworker:

“One that is isolated from the assistance of other person’s, and who is not able to be directly supervised during the work day because of location.”

Secondly, as a ‘Person Conducting Business or Undertaking’ (PCBU), you have an obligation to manage and minimise the risks to health and safety of your worker(s), and will need to consider the following when it comes to work health and safety:

  1. Development of a corporate policy which is transparently available to all employees.
  2. Documenting the role/position and responsibilities.
  3. Formalising the request, including documenting specifics about the arrangement.

The request must be formally made by the employee who will be working from home, and a written response to decline or accept the request should be provided by you within 21 days.

Here are some suggestions for a formal request form:

–          Reason for requesting to work from home

–          Current Arrangement and Schedule & Proposed Arrangement and Schedule

–          Job Description, and tasks undertaken on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, etc

–          Details of the duties to be performed at home

–          Core hours to be undertaken at home

–          Start and end date for working from home (if applicable)

–          Has the worker agreed to a formal home work area assessment?

–          A suggested review process to constructively monitor and address any issues about the arrangement?

4. The request and authorisation process.

5. A formal review to ensure the arrangement continues to work for all parties.

6. Documenting safe systems of work.

7. Defining and agreeing on the necessary equipment required.

High on the agenda naturally is open, honest, regular communication with the worker, to help the person remain part of the culture and not the ‘forgotten workforce’.  Ensure you take the time out to talk to them regularly, and check on their mental health as well, as depending on the arrangement can be quite lonely.

WorkPro has written an e-book on this new age phenomenon which you can download here and also offer a number of practical checklists to assist you when considering the various elements involved.

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