On this page
- Help to make your workplace safe
- Understand your insurance obligations as a business owner
- Meet your return to work obligations
Make your workplace safe and prevent injury
Whether your employees work in an office, on site, from home or on the road, it is your responsibility to make sure their health and safety is taken into consideration when at work.
On this page you'll find a range of resources to promote physical and mental health and wellbeing in your workplace.
Do your own inspection
Use the WorkSafe step-by-step guide we've provided below to help you:
- find the hazard
- assess the risk
- fix the problem.
Get a free safety consultation
The Victorian WorkCover Authority will organise an independent health and safety consultant to come to your workplace, help identify safety issues relevant to your business and provide useful advice on how to go about addressing the issues.
Working from home
Working from home as part of flexible working arrangements is becoming increasingly popular for employees looking to manage work and family/life commitments.
It is important to remember that your OHS obligations to your employees do not end just because they are working away from your premises. You and your business can still be held responsible for injuries that happen in the home while carrying our work related duties, so it's important to make sure that workspaces
Just as you audit your workplace for OHS issues, audits should be performed on any home workspace being used by you or your employees. These audits should be conducted before any work from home is permitted, and periodically (eg annually) to ensure that those workplaces remain complaint with your OHS standards.
In most instances employees can undertake their own home OHS checks to guidelines set by your business. These guidelines can include areas such as:
- Rationale for working from home - This will cover whether there is a valid reason to work from home and whether the nature of work being undertaken is suited to a working from home arrangement.
- Work environment - This will cover areas such as whether there is a dedicated work area, environmental conditions such as adequate lighting and a non-smoking environment being available, and checks on electrical outlets and appliances.
- Workstation setup - Working from the couch on a laptop might sound appealing, but it's not OHS complaint. Checks should be undertaken to make sure that the work surface, chair, desk, keyboard, mouse, monitor and laptop (if applicable) are suited to use and adjusted appropriately for the user.
- Nature of tasks - make sure the guidelines you have around the physical demands of tasks and work practices apply to home-based work the same as they do in your regular workplace.
- Emergency procedures, incidents and check-in - you have emergency and incident plans and first aid supplies for your workplace. Make sure those same items are in place in home workspaces. Also have procedures in place to check in periodically with employees working from home so you know they are safe and well.
- Remote access - make sure your employee has remote access to your IT systems or access to cloud-based services to facilitate remote work.
- Plan of the home-based office - you should retain plans and/or photographs of the home-based workspace for your records for later reference if required.
Once a home workspace check has been undertaken, make a checklist of any items that do not meet requirements. It is reasonable to expect that an employee will pay for items like a new chair, but you may want to supply and take responsibility for items such as job specific hardware.
Use our Working from home safety and wellbeing checklist (DOCX 27.41 KB) as a guide to perform your own home workspace checks.
Insurance obligations and contractors
Read the contractors and workers page on the WorkCover Authority website to assess whether or not a contractor you engage may be considered for WorkSafe insurance purposes.
Return to work obligations for small business
Health at work isn't limited to physical wellbeing. Work can be stressful and we often spend more time at work than with friends or family. Putting a focus on mental health in your workplace can increase employee motivation, job satisfaction and overall wellbeing.
WorkSafe's WorkWell toolkit provides tools and ideas that have worked for businesses like yours.