- Place of work
- Safe Lone Working
- Risk Assessments
- New and Expectant Mothers
- Accident Reporting
- PAT testing
- Fire Safety
- Data Protection and Confidentiality
- Equipment Supply
- Tax and Reimbursement of Costs
- Further Information and Guidelines
We fully appreciate organisations are committed to providing a healthy and safe environment for all its employees wherever they work. It has the same duty of care for employees who work from home as it does for office-based employees. Equally employees who work at their own homes must comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and all associated legislation and Codes of Practice, as all other employees. All employees working from home must take care of their own health and safety and that of anyone else who might be affected by their actions whilst at work. All Employment Policies and Procedures apply regardless of your work location unless explicitly detailed within this policy.
The government defines homeworking as work, which is carried out away from the main office base during the working week, at the employee’s own home. Homeworking is aided through significant use of information and communication technology. All homeworkers are provided with a hot desk at an appropriate location to share at different times.
This policy applies to all home workers who are:
- Non-office-based employee
- Occasional home workers
- Place of work
Home workers must:
- Be accessible by email and/or mobile phone or landline during normal office hours.
- Never give their home telephone number out for business purposes.
- Never arrange for meetings to be conducted at their own homes, all meetings should be carried out at Company offices, other work premises or public places such as hotels.
Home workers may be required to attend meetings at locations other than their home.
- Safe Lone Working
It is important that home workers attempt to separate domestic and work activities and commitments as far as is practicable to reduce the risks of stress and create a healthy work-life balance.
There must be regular communication with other employees to prevent feelings of isolation and a lack of motivation.
Home workers must communicate with their line manager on a regular basis over the telephone, face to face and by email to ensure that they are performing to the required standard for the job and are receiving sufficient support and information.
Working at home means that employees may have less face to face contact with their line manager. It is, therefore, important that if home workers have any queries or concerns, particularly regarding their health or safety whilst working at home, that they contact their line manager immediately to make him/her aware.
- Risk Assessment
All home workers will be asked to conduct a risk assessment questionnaire to assist in identifying any work related hazards. The purpose of the risk assessment is to assist line managers in protecting home workers’ health and safety whilst working at home through the identification of any potential issues. The risk assessment will also assist in identifying what equipment is required to ensure the workplace is safe and fit for purpose. Home workers will be asked to complete a declaration to confirm that their home office risk assessment has been completed.
- New and Expectant Mothers
All new and expectant mothers should have a risk assessment conducted as soon as is reasonably practicable after either (in the case of the pregnant employee) they have informed their line manager they are expecting, or (in the case of the new mother) they have returned to work following maternity leave. Line managers should contact their local Health and Safety representative for details on how to conduct this risk assessment.
- Accident Reporting
If employees suffer an accident whilst working at home, the accident reporting process is the same as that for office-based employees. The employee should notify their line manager immediately of the accident and circumstance surrounding it and the line manager, with the support of the Health and Safety representative, will carry out an accident investigation.
- PAT Testing
Where equipment is provided by the organisation, employees must:
– Take reasonable care of it
– Use it only for work purposes
– Return it to the organisation when requested
Employees must ensure that any electrical equipment used within the home office environment (such as chargers or power leads for laptops, mobile phones, blackberries, desk lamps etc) has been PAT tested. PAT testing should be carried out once every 12 months and arrangements for this will be communicated via line managers or the IT department.
In the meantime, all homeworkers should report any damage to equipment immediately to the IT department and arrange a repair or replacement. Damage may include damage to power cable sheaths, cracked or bent plug casing or pins, or loose parts or screws.
- Fire Safety
When conducting the risk assessment questionnaire for the home office environment, it is important to consider hazards relating to fire. The risk assessment should consider possible sources of fire, location of potential ignition sources and combustible materials and what to do in the event of a fire.
- Data Protection & Confidentiality
The Data Protection Act 1998 provides a legal framework to ensure that personal data is handled properly and the organisation makes every effort to ensure that it, and its employees, fully comply with the obligations set out under this legislation.
The Company may hold and process any personal information relating to you, including sensitive personal data such as absence records, for all manner and purposes in connection with your employment and the business of the Company.
The organisation will expect employees to keep all related information confidential. This might include advertising, marketing plans, concepts, research and development, financial information and other information which is not generally known to the public. It may also include data of a personal nature (for example relating to employment and personnel matters) relating to other employees, customers and suppliers. We will make sure that home workers are aware of their obligations and also expect them to take steps to prevent unintentional disclosure. These obligations apply to all employees, including those who leave the company.
All employees are responsible for ensuring the security of any Company information, files and documents within their possession in their own homes. This includes any personal data relating to, but not limited to, other Boccia employees, customers and suppliers. It is highly recommended that all home working employees:
- have a lockable filing cabinet to ensure that others do not view important documents in the home office. The Company may provide home workers with a suitable cabinet if requested. This should also be used to store company laptops and other equipment when employees are away from the property, for example on holiday. Where it is not feasible to use a lockable cabinet (for example because of space limitations), employees should take steps to ensure that laptops, computer discs, memory sticks and other company information are stowed away securely when not in use.
- use a secure password on any computer used for company business to stop others from viewing important files and ensure that this password is not shared with others.
- encrypt personal data held electronically.
- retain back –ups of information in a secure and separate location, so that loss of a computer does not result in loss of the information; and
- shred all confidential paper waste.
Employees should also be mindful of the risk of loss or theft of company laptops
and other portable media containing confidential information when travelling either
on business or between home and the office and should take all reasonable steps
to mitigate this risk.
All home working employees must ensure they follow the IT User Standards Policy. Home workers are prohibited from sending chain mail, participating in on-line games, sending commercially sensitive information across the Internet unencrypted, and responding to external requests for information or complaints received through email.
- Supply of Equipment
Where it is necessary to provide suitable office equipment and furniture, e.g. a desk, chair or lamp, the Company will pay for them.
The Company will replace items that are subject to normal use and wear and tear.
Any home worker who terminates their employment with the organisation may be required to return some or all of the equipment supplied by the Company
Home working employees who require printer and office stationery should be able to request these from normal office stocks with approval from their line manager. Similarly, home working employees who require IT equipment should arrange this with approval from their line manager.
- Tax & Reimbursement of Cost
In the same way that the company does not reimburse office-based employees for the cost of their normal commute between home and work, it also does not pay compensation for incidental costs of home working, such as heating or lighting,
Where a home worker incurs significant additional costs as a result of working from home, and those costs are not included in the scope of this policy for reimbursement by the company, it may be possible for that employee to claim tax relief. To make a claim, employees should contact HM Revenue & Customs with details of their claim and should be able to show that part of their own home is used exclusively in the performance of their work duties.
The organisation understands that it is unlikely that there will be any change to an individual’s council tax as they will not be running a business from home and the business use of the house is likely to be subsidiary to the domestic use, e.g. a work area in the spare bedroom or living room.
The organisation should be responsible for any necessary insurance of equipment that is supplied to home working employees. Items of equipment that are paid for by the Company and belong to the Company are covered by the Company’s insurance arrangements.
It is the responsibility of the home worker to provide adequate home buildings and contents insurance for equipment that they supply for themselves. The Company will not accept liability for damage caused to the home and or its contents that are not owned by the Company. Home workers must inform their insurers that they are working from home on a regular basis.
Home workers that need to remove Company equipment from their own home, e.g. computers, should store them out of sight in the boot of the car and must ensure that it is locked at all times. Failure to take adequate care of Company equipment may result in the employee being liable for replacement costs.
- Further Information & Guidance
Please consider the following leaflets and publications to further increase your understanding of Health and Safety and Homeworking. Please see the Health and Safety Executive website for more information: www.hse.gov.uk.
- Guidance for employers and employees on Health and Safety. HSE Leaflets. INDG226. 2006
- Preventing Slips and Trips at Work.
HSE Leaflets. INDG225. 2005
- Simple Guide to the Provision and Use of Work Equipment.
HSE Leaflets. INDG291. 2004
- A Guide for New and Expectant Mothers.
HSE Leaflets. INDG373. 2003
- Getting to Grips with Manual Handling. A Short Guide.
HSE Leaflets. INDG143. 2006
- Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. Approved Code of Practice and Guidance.
ISBN 0 7176 2488 9. L21 2000
- Five Steps to Risk Assessment.
HSE Leaflets. INDG163. 1999
- Health and Safety Regulation. A Short Guide.
HSE Publication. HSC13 (rev1). 2003
- Electrical Safety and You.
HSE Leaflets. INDG231. 2005
- Working With VDUs
HSE Leaflets. INDG36 (rev3). 2006
- Health and Safety of Homeworkers: Good Practice Case Studies
ISBN 0 7176 2888 4. 2004