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Health and safety when working offsite

Some staff and owners may be a little less aware of health and safety when it comes to work done away from your core business premises.

In the vast majority of offsite working cases, you, as an owner, do still have to meet certain obligations, however. We’ve created this guide to help you meet your business’s offsite working needs.

Health and safety when working offsite

Necessary provisions

The initial trouble with defining “offsite work” is that your health and safety provisions will differ based on what kind of business you are. A sales business will have fewer risks to consider than a construction business, for example.

Similarly, the nature of offsite work means that, often, staff are left to work alone and without supervision, meaning health and safety provisions might fall by the wayside.

Working alone and without supervision brings with it a certain issue: can one person handle the risks of their job? It may seem fine to allow your staff some autonomy, but if the risks of the job are made worse as a result of working alone, you will most certainly be liable in the event that an injury occurs.

For example, is any machinery that your lone offsite staff use safe for one person to operate?  What is the procedure in the event of a lone worker being injured? If working in groups, is there at least one staff member trained in first aid? These are the kind of offsite-specific considerations that should be made.

One thing remains constant all the same, though. No matter what kind of business you operate, you need to ensure that you approach offsite health and safety with the same level of stringency you do for health and safety at your core business premises. All risks must be considered and managed as much as reasonably possible, such as through training, protective equipment, and reducing exposure to hazards where able.

Working from home

Working from home is usually a little simpler in relation to health and safety provisions. This is mostly because working from home usually takes the form of typical office work at a computer.  In cases like this, the equipment usually already belongs to the staff member, and is not something that you would be liable for.

However, you should still perform a risk assessment and identify any possible risks, as it would be particularly unfortunate to facilitate working from home if you are unaware of the conditions of their workspace. Ensuring your employees’ wellbeing is always beneficial. Similarly, if your business needs to provide the home worker with equipment for whatever their job role is, you need to ensure that it is fit for purpose and sufficient for any hazards your risk assessment has determined to be part of the job.

By approaching offsite work with the right mind-set, you’ll be able to leave your employees as safe as possible during their workday, which can only lead to a more efficient workforce for your business.

How FSB can help with health and safety

Once all reasonable provisions have been made to ensure safety, you should find that your business runs much for efficiently with fewer injuries.

FSB offer a Health and Safety Advice service to help you through every stop of making your business as safe as possible. We provide you with:

  • Round the clock health and safety advice from industry experts on our Legal Advice Helpline
  • Health and safety policy template documents and guidance, written by experts in their field
  • Free health and safety factsheets and documents including accident reporting, manual handling and risk assessments
  • Online training modules

To find out more, get in touch with a member of our team or visit our Health and Safety Advice page.

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