Yesterday I had an email conversation with a prospective client. They are in the midst of figuring out what they need to do for their Work-from-Home (WFH) employees, located around the world. To help them out, I provided the following list of items, taken from the talk I was scheduled to give at ASSP’s Safety 2020 conference. In a nutshell, companies are required to address the physical concerns of work-from-home employees. We have decades of experience working with clients around the world. Check out the requirements in these key regions!
-Maintain a workplace free of recognized hazards
This applies to employees both in regular workplaces, and includes work-from-home employees. Thus, if a WFH employee has an ache or pain from their home workstation setup, their company is obligated to assess the workstation and take actions, including providing the proper equipment and adjustments, to make the employee more comfortable.
California has its own Ergonomics Standard for General Industry, which also applies to the office workstation. This standard says that if a location has two similar soft tissue injuries within a 12-month rolling period, from two or more people doing the same job/task, then the company needs to implement an ergonomics program. Rarely would this Standard become relevant in a WFH situation, but the Federal General Duty Clause will still apply, and obligates the employer to address the work-related causes of pain, discomfort, or injury.
-Employers are obliged to perform an analysis of workstations
This requirement relates directly to office workstations, and companies must review any potential issues with displays and visual concerns, physical concerns from the workstation setup, and also must take into account psychosocial, or mental stress.
Every employer shall perform a suitable and sufficient analysis of workstations
The Health and Safety Executive in the UK obligates companies to conduct analyses of employee workstations, including not only company-issued computers or workstations, but also personal workstations used for company business. Safety risks must be addressed, and risks should be reduced “to the lowest extent reasonably practicable.” Companies are also obligated to provide employees with training on good workstation principles and practices.
Employers are required to perform risk assessments of workstations before they are used, and whenever there is a significant change. Companies are also required to provide training to employees.
Canadian employers are responsible for the prevention of Ergonomics-related hazards. This also includes
-Hazard identification and assessment methodology
-Hazard identification and assessment
Companies in Mexico are obligated to perform workstation analyses and tests to prevent ergonomics risks. They are also obligated to adopt preventive measures to reduce/eliminate/prevent risk factors, to perform health surveillance of employees, notify employees of potential physical risks, and train employees in safe work practices & procedures.
If you have offices, operations, or work-from-home employees in any of these countries and regions, and in many places beyond, if your employees do not have access to ergonomics assessments and the opportunity to receive company-provided workstation equipment to reduce their risks for injuries, your company may be breaking the law.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. To start scheduling video-based assessments for your WFH employees, or for those who have returned to the regular office, click on this link to sign up today. We will schedule a video conference and help you follow the law and help your teammates work more comfortably, productively, and safely!