Guides & Advice

Homeworking: how to deal with workplace injuries

Published: 2nd March 2021
Area: Employment

With remote working currently the standard for many, employers may be unsure about how to deal with workplace injuries. So, what do employers need to know?

Who is responsible for the health and safety of a home worker?

Under health and safety legislation, employers are still responsible for employee welfare, despite working from home. However, employers won’t have the same degree of control over working set-ups as they would in a traditional office environment.

Nevertheless, while it is not feasible for employers to assess their employees’ home offices at present, it is crucial to inform them of the risks to be aware of and how to avoid them.

Our guide to working from home outlines seven practical considerations for employers.

Types of workplace injuries

When looking at workplace injuries, there are two sides to consider. In terms of physical injuries, these are broadly the same as when working in an office. From slips and falls to longer-term issues, such as back injuries, employers are still required to take steps to minimise these risks.

On the mental health front, wellbeing is often more difficult for employers to monitor in a remote working scenario. Because of reduced face-to-face contact, it can be challenging to spot added stress or other issues. However, employers must still manage any mental wellbeing problems as usual.

Sign up to our free webinar on managing mental health in the workplace.

What risks are there to employers?

Legally, employers could risk prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for health and safety breaches. They could also face claims against the company by individual employees. It’s important to note that the HSE can also prosecute company directors on an individual basis for contributing towards a breach through ‘consent, connivance or neglect’. Ultimately, these could lead to fines and even custodial sentences.

There are also some non-legal risks to consider, such as damage to the organisation’s brand, a negative impact on employee motivation and productivity, and increased sickness absence levels and staff turnover.

How can HR reduce the risk?

Employers need to ensure that someone is responsible for managing health and safety risks and that employees are aware of who this is. Often it will be the HR department, although this may vary.

Employees must be correctly informed about the risks present in a homeworking environment, as well as how they can be addressed and how they should be reported. Employers should also be clear about the support available to staff, from providing the appropriate equipment, such as orthopaedic chairs, to mental health assistance.

Homeworking is now a core part of our new abnormal, with traditional full-time office working likely to become a thing of the past. As such, employers need to understand that they still have a responsibility to protect their employees, no matter where they are working.

Contact us

If you need advice or guidance on dealing with workplace injuries while your employees are working from home then our employment team can guide you through your responsibilities. – contact Matt McDonald for guidance and support.

From inspirational SHMA Talks to informative webinars, we also have lots of educational and entertaining content for life and business. Visit SHMA® ON DEMAND.

Our free legal helpline offers bespoke guidance on a range of subjects, from employment and general business matters through to director’s responsibilities, insolvency, restructuring, funding and disputes. We also have a team of experts on hand for any queries on family and private matters too. Available from 10am-12pm Monday to Friday, call 0800 689 4064.

How can we help?

Our expert lawyers are ready to help you with a wide range of legal services, use the search below or call us on: 0330 024 0333

SHMA® ON DEMAND

Listen to our SHMA® ON DEMAND content covering a broad range of topics to help support you and your business.

Employment: Jab or no jab – mock employment tribunal

29 Sep

Natasha Jasinska, Paralegal | Robin Gronbech, Solicitor | Lubna Laheria, Solicitor | Emma Oliver, Associate | Helen Hughes, Legal Director | Michael Hibbs, Partner | Matt McDonald, Partner
Employment: Jab or no jab – mock employment tribunal

Join us for a 3 hour virtual employment mock tribunal as we lead you […]

Legal dos and don’ts for fast growing tech businesses

29 Sep

Helen Molloy, Partner | Kerry Russell, Legal Director
Legal dos and don’ts for fast growing tech businesses

We will guide you through the legal life cycle of a fast-growing tech company, […]

Grandparents rights: when there is a family dispute involving grandchildren

1 Oct

Katherine Marshall, Partner | Matt Parr, Legal Director | Tom Ansell, Partner
Grandparents rights: when there is a family dispute involving grandchildren

The first of our series of three family webinars will align to Grandparents Day […]

Retirement housing: Avoiding costly planning appeals: what needs to change in national and local planning policies

5 Oct

Louise Drew, Partner & Head of Building Communities | Simon Stanion, Partner
Retirement housing: Avoiding costly planning appeals: what needs to change in national and local planning policies

In this webinar, we will be joined by a panel of experts to explore: […]

Our Latest Thoughts

All the latest views and insights on current topics.

Menopause policy and the gender pay gap

17 Sep

Employment

Menopause policy and the gender pay gap

Read article Right Arrow

Business Immigration Update September 2021: What employers need to know

5 Sep

Business Immigration

Business Immigration Update September 2021: What employers need to know

Read article Right Arrow

Minimum wage regulations: ensuring workers are paid fairly

2 Sep

Employment

Minimum wage regulations: ensuring workers are paid fairly

Read article Right Arrow

Preparing for the COVID-19 vaccination

1 Sep

Employment

Preparing for the COVID-19 vaccination

Read article Right Arrow

Shakespeare Martineau launches Employment Portal

17 Aug

Employment

Shakespeare Martineau launches Employment Portal

Read article Right Arrow