This guidance links to the Hybrid Working Policy and is for managers and employees to confirm the steps to be taken in terms of health and safety, and work station risk assessments when hybrid working or working from home.
This guidance applies to employees who:
- routinely split their time between their workplace and home/other location (hybrid working)
- work at home long term (homeworking)
Most of the time, risks to those undertaking hybrid working or homeworking will be low and the actions taken to protect them will be straightforward.
Employees who are hybrid and/or homeworking have the same health and safety responsibilities as any other employee.
As per the Hybrid Working Policy, you should talk to your team about their working arrangements, as working from home/other location may not be suitable for everyone. For example, some people may not have an appropriate place to work or may prefer to come into the workplace for wellbeing, mental health or other reasons.
You must ensure adequate resources are made available to cater for the health, safety and wellbeing of employees whilst hybrid working.
It is important to keep a balanced and proportionate approach for employees who are hybrid working. In most cases you do not need to visit them at home to ensure their health and safety, but you should make sure they have a healthy and safe environment to work in.
You must ensure that all employees who use a laptop/computer complete the following:
Outcome from Display Screen Equipment checks
As line manager you will receive notification from the SHE system that an assessment has been completed. Depending on the results of the DSE Workstation Checklist you may need to carry out a further assessment and you might then decide to visit them, for example, to meet any special requirements, such as for a worker with a disability/ill health issue.
Where the Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Workstation Checklist indicates, as line-manager you need to take some action, eg new chair or software, the employee should not be charged for this. You need to arrange for the provision of work equipment for the employee.
Any equipment must be compliant with the requirements of the Display Screen Equipment Regulations (similar standards should be applied to the home-working base as the office). Depending on the outcome, it may be the case that the employee might need to work from the office, if their needs can be better accommodated there. If you need any advice, please contact the H&S team in the first instance at email@example.com.
When you have employees spending some/all of their working time at home, consideration should be given to:
- Safe use of DSE equipment (as noted above).
- Administration arrangements, for example, how to obtain stationery (this may vary depending on the building), reporting faults to the ICT Service Desk etc.
- Health & safety issues relating to hybrid working.
- Reminding employees that they should have the basic first aid provisions eg plasters and bandages, at home.
- Reminding employees what happens if they have an accident, to tell their manager and complete an incident form on the SHE system if necessary.
- Ensure that employees working at home can achieve a comfortable, sustainable posture. They may not need office furniture or equipment at home to achieve this. But as line-manager you should check with them if their own equipment is suitable.
Please note that prior to any employee commencing hybrid working, they must read the Hybrid Working Policy and complete and submit the Hybrid Opt In form on MyView.
Home working due to health/disability
Everything covered in this guidance relating to hybrid working also applies to those homeworking for all of their working time.
If an employee is working from home permanently due to a long-term health issue or disability, then a homeworking assessment should be carried out with the employee and, depending on the results of this assessment, you may need to undertake a home visit.
If there is an issue with their IT equipment and the employee is unable to bring it into an office for repair, the Technology and Infrastructure section can arrange for equipment to be uplifted in some circumstances.
Cases will be reviewed on an individual basis for any employee who wishes to work from home permanently due to long-term ill health or disabilities. This is often in conjunction with advice from Occupational Health.
If you use a laptop/computer to carry out work tasks you must complete the following:
These resources have been produced to provide you with information on working safely at your workstation in your home with the supplied work equipment. For your safety it is recommended that a risk assessment of your workstation area and your work equipment is undertaken annually, or if anything changes in terms of your workstation set up.
Please note that any equipment supplied by Falkirk Council is only to be used by Falkirk Council employees and Falkirk Council will only inspect and maintain equipment supplied by Falkirk Council and not any other contractor, for example Club IT.
Should a fault occur with equipment supplied to you by Falkirk Council you are responsible for reporting this to the Technology and Infrastructure Service ICT.Servicedesk@falkirk.gov.uk, who will then arrange an appointment for you to bring the equipment in to the Technology and Infrastructure section so repair work can be carried out. You should also make your line manager aware of any faults that occur with this equipment, as each Service is responsible for costs incurred for repairs.
Computer equipment, as with all portable appliances, need to have an annual safety check (PAT testing) undertaken. You must bring the equipment to the office when required for Portable Appliance Testing (PAT).
If you are a permanent employee and hybrid working, you can purchase a desk and chair to support working from home and reclaim this through MyView (£150 maximum allowance). Where appropriate, replacement desk/chair can be provided every 5 years or earlier in specific circumstances on a case-by-case basis. Temporary employees and casuals should discuss any requirements with their line manager in the first instance.
Ensure that when working from home you can achieve a comfortable, sustainable posture. You may not need office furniture or equipment at home to achieve this. But you should check if your own equipment is suitable and discuss with your line manager.
Employees working from home are responsible for undertaking visual checks of electrical plugs, sockets, cables and wiring. In addition, employees working from home must also ensure that the electrical system and mains wiring within their home/property is in good repair to ensure that the work equipment will work efficiently.
General information on the safe use of computers/laptops
To avoid adverse health effects when working with computers (including laptops) make full use of the adjustment facilities for both your monitor and work environment to get the best from them. To achieve this you should ensure:
Your chair and monitor is adjusted to achieve the most comfortable posture for your work. As a broad guide, raise your chair so your forearms are approximately horizontal (elbows at 90º when using the keyboard) and adjust the height of your seat back to give good back support. Footrests may be required if you are unable to rest your feet flat on the floor, when the chair is suitably raised. Your monitor should ideally be positioned so that your eyes are at the same height as the top of the screen (this is not practicable with laptops unless you are using a laptop riser or stand).
You are sitting parallel with the keyboard and the monitor, with sufficient legroom to allow freedom of movement and make sure there are no obstacles such as boxes or equipment under the desk. The monitor/keyboard may be positioned at an angle to the desk, providing you can comfortably sit parallel to them (ie with sufficient legroom).
Your keyboard is positioned at least 50mm from the front of the desk, this is recommended for resting the hands and wrists while not keying. Do not bend your hands up at the wrist when keying and try to keep a soft touch on the keys and don't over-stretch your fingers. Where laptops are used for prolonged periods, a separate keyboard and mouse is required.
That you have enough workspace to accommodate whatever documents you need. A document holder should be used if information has to be transferred from paper to computer and it should be positioned next to the monitor at the same viewing distance as the screen.
That where practicable, your desk and monitor are positioned so that bright lights are not reflected in the screen. You should not be directly facing windows or bright lights and adjust blinds or curtains to prevent glare on your screen.
That you do not sit in the same position for long periods. Make sure you change your posture as often as practicable to avoid excess pressure to the backs of your legs and knees. Take short frequent breaks away from the screen of 5-10 minutes every hour of continuous computer/laptop use.
That the monitor screen is regularly cleaned to ensure characters on your screen remain clear and focused. Where necessary, adjust the brightness control on the monitor to suit the lighting conditions of the room. Should you experience problems with your screen, ie flickering, movement, etc report it to the ICT Helpdesk by emailing ICT.Servicedesk@falkirk.gov.uk.
Workstation set up
Posturite offer various tips to help with setting up your workstation.