24 Aug Working from home, work health and safety
While Working from Home, Work Health and Safety Law is just as important:
Are you, and/or your employees, working from home during the current Covid19 Pandemic with the Delta Variant running rampant? If you or your employees are, then you need to make sure that work health and safety (WHS) is still a top priority.
Let’s not have one more worry to burden ourselves with now and in the future, by making sure you are familiar with WHS, and that you and your employee’s meet your obligations to minimise any risks. Safe work Australia and Comcare have specific working from home, work health and safety advice and checklists you can use.
These are the links to Safe Work Australia Covid 19 information for workplaces:
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Working from home checklist
Keep in mind that both the employee and the employer, have a duty to minimise risks, and look after work health and safety matters. Ensure the workstation at home is safe from risks of poor ergonomics, lighting, and trip hazards. There are many simple actions you can take to minimise risks and look after your health.
For individuals, here are a few tips on work health and safety while working from home:
Funny bloopers of working from home:
Watch this for workstation setup:
Take breaks, stand up every so often and do some of these stretches:
Here are some other simple things you can do to help your mind and body while working from home:
- If you can, as an employee check in with your work colleagues from time to time. The same applies as an employer, check in with your employees throughout the day. Make sure that you are all ok and getting enough support and good rest breaks.
- Remember to separate work time, from family time and break time.
- Go for walks in your breaks when possible
As an employer your responsibilities to comply with WHS Laws remain:
Employer’s still have the same responsibilities to comply with WHS laws for your region, state, territory, and country, so make sure you are familiar with them and the requirements for you. Provide guidance to your employees on what is a safe home office environment, including what a good workstation set up looks like. There are many ways we can adjust settings to be more ergonomic, including how to sit correctly when working from the kitchen table or bench.
It is particularly challenging when also juggling home schooling, so setting up boundaries and taking time out to supervise children must be part of the mix. Both the employer and the employee need to recognise this and be flexible. Bouncing a toddler on one knee while trying to complete work related tasks, is dangerous for both of you and just does not work. Therefore, having boundaries and setting up time out to take care of home life as well as work life is necessary.
There are many great resources to reach out to, for support, some of them are listed on the Safe work Australia website and here they are again:
- SafeWork NSW – COVID-19 and Mental health at work
- Beyond Blue – How to look after your mental health when working from home. You can also contact the Beyond Blue coronavirus mental wellbeing support service on 1800 512 348 or the Beyondblue website.
- Black Dog Institute – Managing your mental health at home
- Family and mental health support — Department of Social Services
- Heads Up – Healthy workplaces support
- Australian Psychological Society – Tips for coping with coronavirus anxiety
- Smiling Mind – Supporting yourself and others through Coronavirus
- Safe Work Australia – Mental Health
Have a support person available that you and your employees can contact. If you do not have a human resources department or an employee assistance program, you can nominate a person who can be trusted to keep confidentiality and remain objective.
Other resources are available to help employees and employers with working from home arrangements and entitlements, such can be found on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website.
Employers, conducting visual checks on workstation setup for work health and safety are a good idea:
As an employer, it would be wise to visually check the employee’s workstation at home set up. You can do that by Zoom, photo’s or using Facebook Facetime or have your employees record a short video of their setup. At least then, you will have some evidence of the work setup of your employees for your records and that you have done what you can, to minimise risks. Further, you might need to provide some support to your employees to obtain any needed office furniture, such as being able to pick up their office chair for the duration of working from home.
These are just a few quick tips to help take care of yourself and/or your employees while working from home and minimise any work health and safety risks. I hope you found these helpful. If you would like to learn more and obtain support, get in touch.