Working from home injury claims
With more employees now working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that employers are prepared for the possibility of claims arising from injuries that are acquired from working at home.
Firstly, even when working from home, employers still owe a duty of care where reasonably practicable to ensure the work health and safety of their employees. Injuries acquired while working at home can still give rise to a claim for compensation if the injury is acquired out of or in the course of employment and the employment was a significant contributing factor to the injury.
Employees still have an obligation to take care of their own health and safety. This includes following health and safety policies, procedures and instructions from their employer.
To aid in preventing a possible claim from arising, employers should attempt the following steps:
- Ensuring that the workplace has policies and procedures for working at home;
- Assessing your employees home work area to make sure that it is suitable and safe for them to conduct their work without injury or liability;
- Providing employees with equipment to aid in a safe work environment, such as ergonomic desk chairs and computer set up;
- Keeping in frequent contact with your employees and ensuring boundaries are set between work and non-work time to prevent workplace isolation, fatigue and stress.
The Queensland Government’s “health and safety checklist for working from home” is an excellent checklist that can be utilised by employers to assist in making sure that an employees’ work area is safe and enables employers to address any safety concerns.
If this article has raised any concerns for you or your organisation please do not hesitate to contact either John Hayward or Kate Smith on (07) 4046 1124, for advice specific to your circumstances.
This article has been prepared with the assistance of Ruby Hedrick, law graduate.
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