Ensuring your safety when running your business from home is just as important as providing the health and safety for any other business. While you will be familiar with the environment and know your way round, accidents can still happen.
From understanding the hazards in your workplace in the house to making changes to lower the risks, this blog explains how to keep safe while working from home.
Working from home and the risks
When running a business from home – whether you’re a freelancer or just temporarily working from home, health and safety should be taken as seriously as when operating a company from an office or factory. Yet, it’s something that some home-based businesses don’t think about – it can be easy to get complacent about safety in the comfort of your own home. However, accidents can still happen in the home.
There are different hazards that can occur when working from home, depending on your business. In a home office, for instance, boxes crammed onto a high shelf above your desk could fall on top of you, or you could trip over a loose bit of carpet. Whereas, if you’re a manufacturer, you could suffer a burn when using hazardous chemicals, or suffer an electrical shock when using equipment that’s plugged into an overloaded power socket. It’s therefore important to put processes in place so you can carry out the different types of work you do as safely as possible.
Conducting a risk assessment
To ensure your safety when working from home, you should carry out a risk assessment in the rooms you use. This involves first identifying the hazards that can harm you, and then making changes to lower the risks. It’s a good idea to assess all the areas you use when working, including the kitchen and bathroom – just as you would if you were checking the safety of an office building to provide health and safety for a team of staff.
You should carry out a full inspection of all areas and list the potential hazards. To help you identify the main hazards and determine the levels of risk, it’s worth asking yourself questions like:
- Is there enough room to work?
- Is there enough space for my equipment or storage?
- Can I enter and exit all rooms without difficulty?
- Is the lighting efficient?
- Is there anything obstructing the floor?
- Is it comfortable to sit and work for long periods of time?
- Can I access what I need in the room without difficulty?
- Is the equipment, furniture and electrical items I use safe and fit for purpose?
Making changes to improve your safety
Once you’ve identified the hazards, you can make changes accordingly to lower the risks of them causing you an accident or injury. This could involve small changes, like bracketing loose wires to a wall, or restocking shelves so heavier items are stored closer to the floor.
It might also involve bigger changes, such as replacing faulty electrical equipment, having an electrician fit extra plug sockets, or changing the whole layout of a home office to make it safer to enter and use.
Whether big or small, changes like these should make your home safer to work in, allowing you to carry out your day-to-day jobs safely, comfortably, and efficiently.
How we can help provide health and safety for your business
Health and safety should be a key part of your business’s operation, whether operating from your home, a small shop, an office, or a large factory.
With our expert health and safety service, we can provide you with the help and support you need to stay safe, wherever your company is based. This can allow you to focus on doing what you do best – running your business. The membership service includes:
- Continuous health and safety advice, available from industry experts on our Legal Advice Helpline
- Access to factsheets and documents, including advice on conducting risk assessments
- The regulations you need and regular health and safety news updates
If you’d like to find out more about this service and how it can help you, please visit our FSB Health and safety Advice page. The FSB Health and Safety Service is included as standard with our Business Essentials package.