UK: As Britain shivers in a big freeze, many businesses are allowing staff to work from home rather than risk treacherous journeys. However, business owners may not realise they are responsible for their staff's welfare while they're working at home.
Chris Little, managing director of business insurance company Premierline Direct, explained: "Allowing staff to work from home may seem like the safest option, but it's important to be aware of your responsibilities as an employer. While a health and safety risk assessment may have been completed for the business premises, in order to fulfil your 'Duty of Care' obligations, the assessment should be extended to your employees' home working environment.
"As the safety of your employees' homes is generally beyond your day-to-day control, it's vital that you advise them about health and safety risks," he admonished.
"That includes making sure their working area is free from trailing cables and they have an ergonomic computer position, just as if they were in the office. They also need to be aware of general slips or trips risks around the home as you may also be responsible if they injure themselves while carrying out their work. Providing them with a checklist or simple tips, such as ensuring there is enough natural daylight and clearing away children's toys or other obstacles, will ensure they take precautions to avoid potential accidents for which you could be liable."