‘Duty of care’ extends to health risks at home – ASPL workplace expert

‘Duty of care’ extends to health risks at home - ASPL workplace expert

Employers must address risks to mental health and other challenges faced at home as part of their expanded duty of care requirements during COVID-19, says HR expert Kris Grant.

Over 4.3 million Australians – or nearly a third of the working population – have been working from home during COVID- 19, according to recent research from Roy Morgan, with millions continuing in ‘WFH’ arrangements.

ASPL Group CEO Ms Grant says working from home has blurred boundaries between work and home life and employers need to be aware this also affects their duty of care.

“The health and safety of employees at work is a critical responsibility of employers, who must ensure they are providing a safe workplace,” Ms Grant said.

“During COVID, we are working from home so this means shifting strategies around duty of care to include and address what’s happening at home, which unfortunately includes mental health issues and increased rates of domestic violence.

“There are legal implications around adequately identifying risks to health and safety – so business leaders and managers need to be aware of their responsibilities and be trained and equipped to deal with these challenges now and going forward.”

How can employers ensure that they are meeting their obligations?

o Managing risks to mental health:

  • Checking in on employees’ wellbeing and responding to unexplained absenteeism, lethargy or other changes in behaviour
  • Providing flexibility
  • Providing information about support services

o Providing training to increase management and leaders’ emotional intelligence (EQ) skills and educate them to manage risks to duty of care.

o Maintaining regular communication and contact, both one-on-one and in team meetings for social interaction.

o Minimising the risk to health and safety for workers at home by educating them on hazards they may face (desk set up, taking breaks, switching off) and how to manage them.

ASPL Group offers a range of HR solutions to these issues through its management consultancy and specialist training packages. For more information visit here.