Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 businesses and undertakings (known as ‘Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking’ or ‘PCBUs’) are primarily responsible for their workers’ health and safety, while they are at work. That means that when employees6 ask to work from home, agencies must consider the risks their employees might be exposed to in that environment, the degree of harm those risks could cause, and how those risks can be mitigated.
During the COVID-19 response many agencies will have learned a lot about the health and safety needs and concerns of their employees while working from home. This can be used to develop more thorough and sustainable remote-working practices.
See Resource 10 for suggestions on how agencies can meet their health and safety obligations when employees work remotely. See also the Government Health & Safety Lead guidance: Supporting workers to work from home.
6Including permanent and fixed-term staff, and consultants working within the business