With more and more businesses employing remotely over the past two years, many jurisdictions have increased protection for remote workers with new or amended employment laws.
In particular, many have increased remote workers’ rights and employer obligations concerning equipment used for work.
Remote equipment management platform Hofy lays out 5 things you should take into account to ensure you are providing and supporting your teams’ equipment in line with H&S regulations.
1. Check local health and safety (H&S) requirements for providing equipment
Employment rights for remote workers differ by country and region. Regulations might require you to reimburse or provide home working equipment for your employees.
Croatia’s Employment Act requires remote worker’s contracts to state a compensation amount for costs associated with remote working (e.g. higher internet & energy bills). There is no mandated amount or guidance on how to determine the right amount. It’s therefore down to the employer/employee to agree on a compensation amount.
Chile’s Distance Working and Teleworking Law requires employers to provide remote workers all the tools, equipment, and supplies necessary to carry out their work. But they must also pay the running costs related to the use of the equipment, including repairs and maintenance.
2. Check equipment meets local H&S standards
You must make sure the equipment your remote teams use meets the minimum standards prescribed by local H&S guidelines.
For example, under EU regulations:
- Office chairs must be height adjustable, and the backrest must be height and tilt adjustable;
- Workers are entitled to a footrest if they request one;
- Keyboards must be tiltable.
3. Provide the ergonomic basics as a minimum
Musculoskeletal disorders are the second most common cause of short- and long-term employee absences in the UK. It’s therefore imperative to provide your employees with a safe working environment, whether they are situated in the office or not.
Ergonomic office equipment is designed to prevent musculoskeletal injury. According to Nichola Adams, founder of Inspired Ergonomics, a workplace safety consultancy, the absolute minimum you should provide is:
- A desk;
- An ergonomic chair;
- A laptop stand;
- An external keyboard;
- An external mouse.
Read advice on setting up workstations properly.
4. Ensure furniture is professionally assembled
In some countries, like Mexico, employers are required to install equipment for home workers by law. If you are hiring a remote worker in Mexico or another region that mandates equipment installation , you must make sure any furniture is professionally assembled prior to, or upon, delivery.
Regardless of any legal obligation, it’s still strongly advisable to seek out professional support for equipment installation. If an employee injures themselves during installation, or due to, setting up their workstation incorrectly, you may be liable.
5. Issue home-specific workstation assessments
In many regions, including the UK and the EU, employers are required to mitigate any potential H&S risks by assessing their employees’ workstations. The regulations apply equally to office, home, and hybrid workers.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the UK’s national regulator for health and safety at work, requires UK employers to administer Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Assessments. A DSE assessment risk evaluates every part of an employee’s workstation, as well as their work environment.
There are countless assessments available, but not every assessment is suitable for home workers. As a lot of these assessments were written up pre-pandemic, they are catered towards office working and therefore do not take into account the kind of equipment remote workers may be using, or environmental factors specific to homes.
To properly and effectively assess how your employees are working from home, it’s advisable to use a DSE assessment designed specifically for home workers.
Provide equipment compliantly with Hofy
Hofy’s platform enables you to provide equipment to remote workers anywhere in the world in 1 click, while staying H&S compliant. To learn more about Hofy’s services or to book a free demo of their platform, visit Hofy’s website.
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The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.