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HSE Expands Home Working Guidance

HSE Expands Home Working Guidance
15 December 2023
 

The Health and Safety Executive has updated its home working guidance to include straightforward actions to manage home workers’ health and safety.

The HSE stresses that without contact with employees day-to-day, there are additional challenges when ensuring home workers are looking after their mental health. Therefore employers should build in “additional opportunities” to recognise symptoms of stress or mental health problems.

Employers are also being urged to follow specific home working advice for workers that use display screen equipment (DSE)

The most recent HSE statistic on ill health at work revealed that 1.8 million workers reported they were suffering from work-related ill health in 2022/23, with approximately half of the cases down to stress, depression or anxiety. 

 

Reducing Isolation and Disconnection

 

The new guidance accepts that those working at home are prone to working longer hours, missing breaks and feeling obliged to answer emails outside normal working hours. It may be harder to monitor this behaviour without regular contact, so the HSE recommends bosses speak openly with their team about the possibility of them becoming stressed or mentally unwell. Employers can also complete a stress risk assessment if they feel individuals are at risk of work-related stress.

 

DSE Assessments 

 

Good posture when working on a computer or laptop becomes even more critical in a home working environment, as the temptation to work from unsuitable dining chairs, sofas or even beds can be difficult to avoid. Working from an inappropriate and unprofessional set-up such as slouching over a dining table, can cause neck, back, and hip pain. 

Workers can complete DSE assessments if given the relevant training, and basic advice on maintaining good posture can be found here.

Picture: a graphic showing a person standing up next to a desk where a laptop sits. The person is bending forward with one hand on their back, as if in pain. Image Credit: Pixabay

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 15 December 2023

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