Health & Safety for Home Offices

These days, companies are looking at ways to make the “work from home” situation permanent. While this is positive news from a work/life balance perspective, it is important to understand the employer and employee obligations for health and safety when it comes to home offices.

A home office is an extension of the workplace and therefore should offer the same level of safety and security as the employee would receive at the regular work office. Employees are most often working alone which can present a unique situation should something unexpected happen. It is important to keep to a contact schedule even if there are not “work” details to discuss.

Will the employer or the health and safety committee have access to the house for safety inspections? If not, alternative arrangements must be made such as the worker using checklists or submitting photos of the work area. How will accidents or injuries be investigated?

Employers must also ensure there is fire protection (smoke alarms, access to a fire extinguisher) and carbon monoxide detector; emergency procedures including an evacuation plan, first aid supplies and emergency contact numbers are provided.

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