Working from home is old news now; the novelty of working from the couch and dining table has well and truly worn off. But as we’re still living in a world where at the drop of a hat, we’re back to working from home, it’s important to know what your employers need to provide you, as the employee, at home to keep you safe. While we’d love to provide a straight-forward yes or no, the truth is that QHF workers compensation claims are still a grey area when it comes to the law in Queensland.
This much is clear: when you’re required to work in any space, makeshift or otherwise, it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure your safety is a priority.
Does my Employer Still Have a Duty of Care?
Yes, your employer’s duty of care does still extend to flexible working arrangements. While it could be a stretch to expect HR executives to visit and screen all of their employee’s homes for hazards and appropriate working conditions, it is much more rational to expect employers to communicate clearly with their staff about the at-home setup expectations. There areprovisions every employer is responsible for alongside keeping cords away from doorways; from delegating reasonable work tasks to having full-access to quality equipment and training, your employer is required give you the best opportunity and support for you to succeed safely while working from home.
It could be as simple as providing a checklist outlining key hazards to beware of, and the most effective ways to prep your home for the workday and being familiar with ergonomic practices. With the number of employees looking to maintain a regular work from home roster, there will no doubt be an increase in workplace health and safety resources to assist management teams in staying on top the various risks that could appear at any time.
Claiming Workers Compensation #WFH
Should you unfortunately injure yourself at home while performing a regular work task or on a break during scheduled work times, there is a reasonable likelihood you could be entitled to workers compensation. Under Queensland’s statutory workers compensation scheme, regardless of whether it was yours or your employer’s fault, it is a ‘no-fault’ scheme meaning that if you are an employee who has sustained an injury, then there are options to look into when it comes to claiming workers comp in Queensland. While the lines can become blurred when it comes to defining which activities are related to work and what isn’t, each case is individual and should be treated as such as there are a multitude of factors to consider.
In the event that you have been injured while working at home, be sure to seek medical advice as soon as possible and notify your employer straightaway.
Prevention is Better than Cure: How to Decrease Injuring Yourself While Working from Home
- Consider whether any existing workplace policies that affect your work need to be revisited by your manager or employer to allow for the flexibility of working away from the office.
- Undertake a risk assessment
- Identify and minimise the risk of psychosocial risks as well as physical risks
- Provide resources on how to set up an ergonomic work station
- Don’t forget your incidental exercise; get up for a glass of water every hour or two. Chances are, you’re not getting anywhere near close to the usual number of steps you might be used to.
The short answer is this: getting legal advice to fully understand your situation, and the entitlements you could be receiving, will be the superior option when it comes to getting the optimal outcome for your situation. Our team here at Gouldson Legal are ready to help you navigate all the grey areas when it comes to workers compensation and what you could be entitled to. If you have experienced an injury while working from home, get in touch with us sooner rather than later and find out how our experienced team can help or, even better, request a free case review to find out how we can help.