Ireland Update: Virtual Risk Assessments and Employee Consultation on Remote Working Arrangements

The Health and Safety Authority ("HSA") has published new guidance on working from home for employers and employees ("Guidance").

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Acts 2005 to 2014 ("SHW Acts") place the responsibility for the employee's health and safety while at work with the employer, whether an employee is working from home or in the office. However, it is clearly more challenging for an employer to control and supervise an employee's working environment where the employee is working remotely from home and the SHW Acts do not provide for any deviation from an employer's obligations where the employee is working remotely.

Clarity on employer obligations to home working employees is particularly welcome due to the significant increase in employees working from home on a full or part time basis due to COVID-19 restrictions. Though these obligations remain onerous, this Guidance provides helpful instruction on how an employer can fulfil their obligations under the SHW Acts in these circumstances.

In this Guidance, the HSA reiterates the principle that the employer is responsible for employees' health and safety at work and lists a number of key employer duties that are particularly pertinent to employees working from home.

 

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