Small-business owners need to be prepared for the changes to their “duty of care” if their employees are working from home during COVID-19 or they provide a blended approach moving forward between the office and home.
At the office or on a job site, much time has been spent ensuring appropriate health and safety measures and precautions have been met – but has this been done for workers at home?
Duty of care includes ensuring that both the physical and mental health of your employees are protected and any risks are eliminated, or at least minimised.
Work Health and Safety laws still apply whether an employee is working somewhere else other than their usual workplace.
With hundreds of thousands of Australians working from home during COVID-19 and no real end in sight, considerations must be made to ensure home environments are suitable and safe places to work.
Working from home during a pandemic can be a stressful time, blurring the boundaries between work and home life. This has created specific challenges and pressures, so it’s necessary to also include mental health challenges and increased rates of domestic violence in your strategies around duty of care.
There are legal implications around not adequately identifying risks to health and safety – so it’s important to be aware of your responsibilities as a small-business owner.