Occupational safety in the home office in times of Covid-19: Is a risk assessment necessary?

Occupational safety in the home office has not only been a challenge in occupational safety since Covid-19 and the associated corona pandemic. In the practical implementation of work in the home office or teleworking, the focus is usually on compliance with the Working Hours Act (ArbZG), costs or social security and tax issues. The issue of occupational health and safety is seldom taken into account: employees who work in their own four walls are subject to the same occupational health and safety regulations as for employees on-site at the employer's premises.

The following article addresses the importance of risk assessments and occupational safety in the home office.

Working in the home office - health and safety regulations

All occupational safety regulations also apply to work in the home office, in particular the Occupational Safety and Health Act (ArbSchG). On the basis of the general clauses in §§ 3, 4 ArbSchG, numerous legal ordinances have been issued that specify the requirements for the design of work and work processes, in particular the Workplace Ordinance (ArbStättV).

According to Section 3 I 1 of the ArbStättV the employer is obliged to take the necessary occupational health and safety measures, taking into account the circumstances that affect the safety and health of employees at work. To this end, he must ensure the protection of his employees through suitable technical, organizational or personal measures.

Working in the home office - risk assessment

A risk assessment according to the §§ 5 and 6 ArbSchG must therefore also be carried out for workplaces in the home office. On the one hand, this means the obligation to determine the necessary measures for the safe provision and use of the work equipment provided by the employer (§ 3 I Industrial Safety Ordinance, BetrSichV).

In doing so, the employer must pay particular attention to the hazards associated with the use of the work equipment itself and which are caused at the workplace by interactions between the work equipment or with working materials or the work environment. Hazards can therefore arise from the workplace itself or the equipment used, but also from the employee himself in the special home working environment. The concrete assessment at the employee's intended workplace at home is the basis for the concrete measures to be taken.

Solutions and advice

As we understand it, many of these workplaces are lone work or individual workplaces which, depending on their type and configuration, may require special individual protection. As to whether a solution from our personal emergency signal systems might be suitable for your requirements, we would be happy to discuss with you personally. Just contact us here

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