Guidance for employers and employees working remotely

General health and safety hazards need to be considered by both the employers and employees when working remotely. In reality employers have little direct control over the home workplace so ensuring that employees are fully equipped with information in this area is vital.

At ORS, we have been making the transition to increased remote working for our people over the last three years.  As part of that, we are fulfilling legal requirements and our duties as employers by taking care of employee’s health outside of the office.  We do this by providing risk assessments and guidance on DSE (Display Screen Equipment) use to assist in reducing any negative health effects associated and to create better work environments.

For ORS, the majority of the work carried out while working from home are of an administrative or desk-based nature, which are generally deemed to be low risk.  Based on our experience at ORS, we share with you some things to consider when adapting to working from home.

As an employer we:

  • Provide all staff with training from a competent H&S personnel
  • Practically show the ideal scenarios in which workstations should be set up and demonstrate the benefits of this.
  • Equip all staff with the information to complete their own risk assessment when working remotely.
  • Have regular team catch up meetings online scheduled in the morning and in the evening to ensure the safety of staff and to maintain efficient levels of communication. Platforms such as Microsoft Teams are very useful for this.  The virtual meetings  allow colleagues to interact throughout the day through our different channels.
  • Give all staff the option to take their workplace equipment such as monitors and keyboards home where practical and as required.

For our employees they:

  • Have suitable room to work.
  • Ensure good standards of housekeeping, including adequate lighting and removing trailing leads.
  • Use equipment correctly
  • Take reasonable care of their own health and safety.
  • Be aware of the risks their work poses to other people, such as family members (including children)

Some practical considerations to give when selecting a suitable working area at home are:

  • Try to pick a spot away from sources of glare such as windows, overhead lights, and reflective surfaces.
  • Ensure that the ambient temperature, noise and ventilation is suitable for working in.
  • The immediate area should be clear of obstructions and in a tidy condition.Cables should not be allowed to extend across the floor.
  • Avoid overloading sockets and extension leads or using damaged sockets and wiring.
  • There should be sufficient space to move about comfortably.
  • There should be sufficient ventilation.
  • The furniture in use should be suitable in so far as is reasonably practicable.

For more information on VDU/DSE assessments for your personnel, contact Michelle Lau, Health & Safety Management Team, m.lau@ors.ie.