1. What is remote working?
Remote working refers to work activities undertaken away from the employer’s normal work premises including in a domestic setting or a remote working hub.
2. What is a remote work location or setting?
A remote work location refers to the location where the staff member carries out their work away from their designated office.
3. What are employer responsibilities in relation to remote working?
The responsibility for safety and health at work rests with the employer regardless of whether an employee works remotely or at the employer’s premises. Employers must provide a safe work environment and, in doing so, assess the risks and ensure appropriate controls are place to safeguard employees at work.
4. What are employee responsibilities in relation to remote working?
Employees working remotely have a responsibility to take reasonable care while at work, and must:
- Co-operate with their employer and follow agreed safety procedures,
- Protect themselves from harm during their work; for example, use any equipment provided correctly and report any defects immediately to the employer, and
- Report any injury arising from the work activity to their employer immediately
5. What is a Remote Work Assessment?
A Remote Work Assessment refers to the assessment carried out by a competent and trained assessor of the employee’s identified workplace.
To address the changing nature of remote work or work location, a Remote Work Assessment for the employee should be completed.
This should follow the three steps and associated checklist question as defined in the Occupational Safety and Health Remote Working Checklist. See here. Further, the assessment should incorporate additional information, guidance, advice, training, and instructions to support the employee when setting up their workstation.
If the employee is working in a remote working hub, employers may need to consult with the operator of the remote working hub.
6. Who carries out the Remote Work Assessment?
The Remote Work Assessment will be carried out by a competent trained person. A competent person is someone with sufficient training, experience and knowledge who can carry out the assessment.
7. What is assessed in a Remote Work Assessment?
The assessment involves a three-step process.
The steps include (1) an assessment of the work activity, (2) an assessment of the hazards and (3) monitoring, reviewing, and communicating with employees.
It is the employer’s responsibility to proactively ensure that the assessment is completed for each employee by a suitably trained, competent person and account is taken of changing circumstances.
8. In what situations does a Remote Work Assessment have to be carried out again?
Further assessment is required in certain situations. This includes when:
- The nature of the work changes
- There are changes in the location of the employee’s place of work
- The duration of remote work changes
- There are changes in the location of the workstation