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Remote Workers at Risk – New Survey

Work from homeA recent survey shows many businesses that allow employees to work from home or remote working are not complying with WHS legislation.

The Sage Australia Business Index 2013 surveyed 400 employers and found 50% allowed employees to work remotely. Of those, 88% had in place some HR policies around work practices; however an alarming 60% said their HR and WHS policies were largely informal.

The survey found while remote working is now mainstream, there appeared to be a lag in policy development surrounding the practice.One area of concern highlighted in the study was the use of mobile phones. In particular the risks associated with phone use on the road. The recommendation was made to communicate clearly when mobile phones could be used, to reduce the likelihood of an employer being held vicariously liable for any accidents which may occur if an employee is using a mobile device while driving.

Workers doing more “out on the road” may be good for productivity but comes with increased risks.

Another recommendation was that employees routinely working from home needed ergonomic chairs and desks, as well as adequate lighting. This is due to the employer still having a liability for an employee’s safety in a remote working environment.

The research confirmed nearly two-thirds of businesses with a staff mobility policy report mobile working delivers business value, while almost 30% say they are realising intangible benefits such as improvements in staff satisfaction, morale, a reduction in absenteeism and improved productivity.

About the Author

Safety Concepts is an online resource providing up to date insights and covering issues in the field of Workplace Safety.

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