Recent reviews of H&S legislation have recognised the need to reduce the burden placed on both small businesses and low risk activities.
The HSE has now issued revised guidance on home working (INDG 226) resulting in fewer requirements for employers concerning H&S compliance.
Where the type of work carried out at home is deemed “low risk”, i.e office type work, the employer will only be responsible for the equipment it supplies. However, it is important that employers satisfy themselves that the activity being performed by the employee is low risk, it advises review the situation carefully.
If the work activities at home have more risk, for example, manual handling or working with hazardous substances, a more detailed assessment of the risks is required.
Where the employee working at home uses display screen equipment, then risk assessments will still be required for all home workers.
It seems that whilst there may be less interest from the regulators concerning home working, a conscientious employer will still need to satisfy itself that the risk from the activity being carried out at home is LOW in order to benefit from the relaxation of the rules.
So despite them being eased, the HSE advises that employers should continue to keep records of how they risk assess home working, because failure to do so may leave them exposed.