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Health and Safety Services

Policy on safety when working from home

1. Background
1.1 Some Birkbeck staff prefer to carry out some of their work at home. In addition, Birkbeck employs regional workers across England and Wales who by necessity have to carry out the majority of their work for Birkbeck within their own homes.

1.2 Birkbeck has certain legal responsibilities to employees who are required to work at home on Birkbeck business. These employees also have certain responsibilities.

1.3 This policy aims to clarify these responsibilities and provide guidance about how to discharge them.

2. Principles
2.1 Where Birkbeck requires a member of staff to work from home then it recognises that health and safety legislation applies to the member of staff. Birkbeck's policies and guidance on health and safety apply. This includes the requirement to have appropriate risk assessments of the work activities, ensuring that there is a suitable, safe place for the member of staff to work and ensuring that equipment provided by Birkbeck is safe.

2.2 If a member of staff takes it upon themselves to work on Birkbeck business at home, but is not required to, then the member of staff should assess the activities they propose to carry out and ensure that they do not place themselves or others at risk. Birkbeck's various policies and procedures on health and safety provide guidance on good practice that is generally equally applicable when working at home. For example Birkbecks guidance on the use of Display Screen Equipment.

3. Responsibilities
3.1 Managers must advise Personnel and the Safety Office of any employees who are employed to work principally from home. They must ensure that the member of staff has been provided with Birkbeck's policy document on home working i.e. this document AND Health & Safety Executive (HSE) guidance leaflet INDG226 on Homeworking. This document can be accessed at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg226.pdf

3.2 For these staff, managers must also ensure that appropriate risk assessments have been carried out with regard to working conditions and practices at the home workplace, that these are documented, the member of staff advised of the findings, and necessary control measures implemented.

3.3 Members of staff who are employed to work primarily from home must comply with their responsibilities as set out in Birkbeck's Statement of Health and Safety Policy section (1) paragraph 2. All staff, except hourly paid lecturers have their attention drawn to that safety policy in the induction email they receive from the College Health and Safety Officer shortly after they take up their post.


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Health & Safety Services, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX. Tel: 020 7631 6218, email: healthandsafety@bbk.ac.uk