Health and safety responsibilities when working from home
Employers are asked to consider having workers work remotely (e.g., work at home) where practicable, as part of efforts to slow the progression of COVID-19 (coronavirus) through social distancing.
To support this practice, WorkSafeBC would like to share the following guidance on employer and worker responsibilities for ensuring their workspace is healthy and safe.
Developing a health and safety policy
The employer should ensure it has a basic health and safety policy for working from home, and that each party understands their role, duties, and responsibilities.
At minimum, this policy should require employees to conduct an assessment of their workplace and report any hazards to their manager. An example of some other factors to consider in this policy include:
- Protocols for evacuating from the home or temporary workplace to a safe location if needed and how contact the employer in case of emergency
- Discussion of safe workplace practices and how to report any work-related incidents or injuries
- Discussion of ergonomic considerations
Key health and safety requirements when working from home
Many health and safety roles, rights, and responsibilities are just as applicable for at-home workers as they are for more traditional workplaces, including:
- Reporting workplace injuries
- Requirements for education and training
- Worker’s duty to follow safe work procedures
- Furthermore, check-in and other procedures are required if the worker is working alone or in isolation. For more information, see our OHS Guidelines on the Definition of working alone or in isolation and Procedures for checking the well-being of workers.
Some health and safety requirements will need to be administered in different ways for at-home staff, including:
- The role of the worker’s supervisor will need to be outlined
- Ergonomic assessments will need to be performed and control measures implemented
- How the employer will follow-up on reported incidents will require special consideration in advance of any work being done from a residence
For more information
For other information about COVID-19 and the workplace, please see our COVID-19 updates page and the following links: