Just half (52%) of employers are providing safety training for ‘hybrid’ workers who are now splitting their work between home and physical workplace, a study has suggested.
The poll of health and safety professionals in 447 companies by environmental, health and safety software organisation EcoOnline concluded that employers may as a result need to be reassessing their health and safety provision and support for hybrid workers.
While nearly six out of 10 of the firms polled said they were planning to carry out new risk assessments for their hybrid team, a substantial minority (43%) said they had no plans to do so.
Half of those intending to carry out assessments said this would be by asking employees to fill out a risk assessment form, while 37% said they would continue to use their current approaches along with an in-office assessment.
A minority (4%) said they would send health and safety professionals to the worker’s home for an in-person review, and 3% said they intended to conduct online video assessments with managers or a health and safety practitioner.
Almost all companies (97%) said they would be asking about workplace ergonomics in the risk assessment, but only 14% planned to follow this up with training in correct posture and workstation set-up.
Hybrid working and health
When it came to risk assessment, almost all (84%) highlighted stress as a priority area (for example from overwork or isolation).
However, while nearly nine out of 10 said managing stress would be covered in learning sessions, only 10% said their company training specifically covered avoiding isolation and just 2% looked at managing workload and scheduling breaks.
More positively, 85% of respondents said their organisation did coach colleagues on remote communications. Common topics within the home risk assessment included electrical safety (81%), trip hazards (71%) and fire safety (71%) alongside heating and ventilation (61%).
Dr Catherine Jordan, health and safety product specialist at EcoOnline, said: “Employers need to remember that their duty of care for their people’s health, safety and wellbeing extends to the at-home part of their working lives.
“Managing the blend of home and office working requires planning and communication. Risk assessment is an important precursor to any new working arrangement, but it is only one consideration in the successful management of worker safety, health and wellbeing,” she added.