A third of homeworkers work from their living room

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As nearly half of all employees were working from home most of the time by the end of spring last year, no-win-no-fee specialists National Accident Helpline conducted a survey of 1,000 participants to assess the safety of working from home.

The living room proved the most popular room for working from home. A huge 36% of people asked said they were working from the living during the first lockdown.

Why are home workers choosing to work in the living room?

For some home workers, the living room is the only option they have at home to set up a work area. In particular, many flats only have a living room or small kitchen to work in, making it impossible to work elsewhere.

Most people feel most at ease in their living room and with the unexpected respite from the office they took to their living rooms for some much-needed comfort.

What are common injuries caused by working in the living room?

Of the participants in the survey who were injured while working at home, 46% were injured by working in their living room. The most common injury being back pain due to an improper work set up, with one in four home worker reporting back pain.

Other common injuries were related to strain and pain caused by improper seating and use of laptops and mouses. In addition, the National Accident helpline survey found that 25% of injuries were reportedly caused by working on the sofa, suggesting the living room is not the safest place to work.

How are employers keeping workers safe?

Many employers are going above and beyond to ensure the safety of their staff while the rise to the challenge of working from home. While there are no legal precedents for employers to do so, many are making sure employees are carrying out risk assessments, supplying guidelines and providing with the equipment they need to safely do their jobs.

National Accident Helpline’s Legal Director, Jonathan White, had the following to say:

“Employers have a duty of care to provide a risk assessment checklist for those working with screen equipment at home on a long-term basis, and whilst there is no requirement from the HSE to supply the same for those working from home temporarily, they do encourage employers to provide workers with advice on completing their own basic assessment at home.”

Many workers have taken on the advice, with 57% reporting they followed their employers guidance diligently. Worryingly, nearly a quarter (23%) chose to ignore the advice entirely while working from home.

Even more shocking though, one in five full-rime employees surveyed who were working from home stated they were not given any safety advice.

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