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Employers failing to provide safe home working environments

Approximately 90 percent of local employees are working in unsafe environments, despite the fact employers have an obligation to provide a safe working environment whether at home or in the office.

According to research conducted by Ergoworks, over 764,700 Australians now work from home at least two days a week, creating concern for employers regarding responsibilities toward home workers.

These concerns are especially prevalent after the successful litigation case of a Telstra employee who was injured after falling down the stairs whilst working from home.

Ergoworks director Mark Douglas says: “Employers are generally oblivious to the working conditions that employees have established in their own premises. It is not uncommon for home workers to work in unsafe environments including working from kitchen benchtops.”
Poor workplace practice is impacting workplace productivity and absenteeism as workers increasingly suffer neck and back injuries.

“The central issue is that home workers are not setting up their work stations safely. This deficiency is the responsibility of employers to address and has significant potential to become a litigation nightmare,” Douglas added.

Risk assessments for home workplaces look at a number of key elements, including chars, desks and lighting. Trip hazards and exit routes are also examined and Douglas says it is important for employers to be proactive and enforce appropriate measures.

“It is imperative that employers implement the appropriate measures to provide a safe working environment for employees working from home, to ensure they do not become litigation casualties.”

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Maree Sorbello

Maree Sorbello

Maree is a first year student at Sydney's University of Technology, and is one of Dynamic Business' star interns.

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