The nationwide lock-down prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in many workers required to work from home over the next four weeks.
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, PCBU’s have a duty to ensure workers are not put at risk by the work they do or by their workplace. If workers are required to work from home, their home is considered a workplace and businesses have a responsibility to eliminate or minimise the risks so far as reasonably practicable.
How can PCBU’s meet their responsibilities?
Although workers are also responsible for their own health and safety, there are a number of steps businesses/managers can take to meet their legal obligations and ensure remote workers remain healthy and safe.
- Workstation/Ergonomics: It’s most likely workers will not have the correct ergonomic equipment or workstation set-up in their home. If this prolongs, it can lead to awkward posture and increase the risk of developing ergonomic related injuries or musculoskeletal disorders. Managers can prevent such risks from arising by providing equipment to take home or useful resources that can help guide workers to correctly set up their work area at home. HabitAtWork offers an effective tool which promotes self-help for preventing and managing discomfort, pain and injury. Click here to access the tool and share with your team members.
- Working Wise is also currently offering virtual workstation assessments via Zoom for remote workers – our Occupational Health Nurse provides workers with direct guidance, tailored recommendations and useful resources to ensure workers are set up comfortably and correctly in their home. Contact us for more information about this service.
- Regular Communication: Keep in regular contact with team members by scheduling in phone calls or video conference calls to discuss how they are going and how they are managing work under these circumstances. It’s important to encourage workers to take breaks and maintain social interaction while working from home to ensure they are also looking after their wellbeing.
- Workload: Workers may have other responsibilities or commitments during this pandemic lock-down such as caring for their children or supporting other dependents. This may put extra stress on them resulting in poor wellbeing and lower productivity. Managers and staff should make a plan for how to manage work around this. This may include altering hours worked, allowing for frequent breaks, or altering workload.
Click here to learn more about how managers can support employees while working from home. Keeping connected during this uncertain time is crucial for maintaining a worker’s health and wellbeing! If you’re a PCBU that requires further assistance with managing the health and safety of employees working from home, then contact Working Wise today.