Quick Guide: Compensation claims for accidents whilst working from home
One of the many and widespread impacts of this year’s Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has been the huge rise in employees being allowed - and in many cases forced - to work from home. Whilst clearly not all occupations and activities can be carried out remotely, the UK’s services-based economy has seen large swathes of the workforce replace their Monday morning office meetings with a Zoom or WebEx video call from their kitchen table, spare room or for the lucky few, their home office. So whilst there are long established and clearly defined procedures and laws in place to safeguard employees overall, how do these protections work for home-based working and are employees entitled to make a claim for compensation should they get injured?
Even though the laws covering workplace safety, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 Act, do not cover domestic premises, the expectation is that an employer is still obliged to take reasonable steps to ensure that employees are safe whilst working at home. However, because of the lack of control an employer has over an employee’s domestic arrangements, such obligations are not as thorough, and the duty of care required does depend on the specific tasks and activities an employee is undertaking.
Homeworking Risk Assessment
An employer may be required to carry out a risk assessment of a domestic property to ensure that the type of work being undertaken is suitable for different home environments. Whilst some employers already provide a home-check for general health and safety and posture related issues for home workers, most simply need to provide guidance on what the most appropriate measures are based on the work being carried out. As an example, more manually-focussed home working such as shipping fulfilment or sewing/stitching would require more consideration around the space required for safe materials storage and the actual workspace/desk being used, compared to work that is mainly computer-based and poses a lower risk.
Employer Negligence and Claims
Overall, there is a larger burden of responsibility on the employee to ensure that they stay safe whilst working from home. An employer must ensure that they provide their homeworking staff with the correct tools, information and training, and to ensure that such tools and equipment are properly maintained. Should an employee suffer an injury whilst working at home, to be able to make a successful claim it would need to be proven that the employer had failed to take reasonable care of their safety and thus were in some way negligent. In the current (as of summer 2020) circumstances surrounding Covid-19 and the fast-changing restrictions on travel, work and day-to-day life, with employers and employees alike still adapting to what may well become the ‘new normal’ for some time yet it is important that injured employees seek impartial and independent legal advice.
Workplace Injury Claims Advice
At Bakers we pride ourselves on our experience and success in representing claimants who have been injured at work through no fault of their own, helping them to receive compensation that they are properly entitled to. Our professional, friendly team will give you an honest, free and ‘plain English’ appraisal of your claim and we love to delight our clients when they receive the injury compensation they deserve.
If you would like us to handle your personal injury compensation claim, you can contact us online or by phone on 01252 744600. Read about some of our compensation claim success stories or key stages to making a claim.