Policy Requirements when Working from Home

Regulatory and enforcement policies are required to comply with the Act even when working from home. The OHS Act is a self-regulatory act. Due to the fact that it would be very difficult for the Department of Labour to police and enforce the Act at all the different organizations in our country, the law makes it the duty of both the employer and the employees to take responsibility for health and safety issues in their workplace. This is what the term “self-regulatory” means. In this case the policy would be adapted to the employee working from home.

The law achieves this self-regulation by requiring organizations to develop effective workplace policies (section 7) and procedures. The law also requires commitment from both parties (employer and employee) to ensure that these policies (e.g. Health and Safety policy, Rules for visitors and contractors, Alcohol and Substance policy, Dreaded diseases policy) and procedures are applied. The method used for achieving this is the health and safety committees and the health and safety representatives.

The OHS Act is the only Labour Act that regards the consequences of non-compliance as a criminal offence (section 38-presumption in law). This means that in situations that result in serious injuries or death, both the employer and employee can be criminally prosecuted if they did not comply with the OHS Act.

Responsibilities of all involved
The OHS Act gives workers the right to a healthy and safe work environment. It tells management to appoint safety representatives and safety committees in the workplace. It also regulates facilities, the general working environment, training, protective clothing, machinery, stacking and packing, ladders, fire, ventilation, lighting, temperature, noise and asbestos. However, if the employee does not do his / her part with regards to applying safe work principles when working from home. The employer may be held accountable.

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