Q: Our organisation provides information and/or online training in relation to working from home WHS compliance, and then requires our remote staff to complete a checklist and self-certify their compliance. Isn’t that sufficient?
A: The COVID 19 Pandemic has meant that risks have been balanced against the associated health risk and therefore enforcement is measured however as this becomes the new normal, Insurers and government agencies will seek to ensure the safety of employees at their place of work.
Q: Our organisation engages a number of staff who are working from home on a casual basis, or as contractors who have their own ABN’s, etc. What are our obligations and potential liabilities in relation to working from home WHS compliance for these individuals?
A: Your Casual workers and contractors working from home are deemed to be at your workplace under WHS legislation.
Q: What services does ‘Safe as Houses’ provide?
A: We contribute to fulfilling your Duty of Care in relation to the workplace by visiting employees home work site and, as far as reasonably practicable, ensuring that it is safe and in line with legislative and regulatory requirements as well as best practice.
Q: If ‘Safe as Houses’ inspects and certifies a working from home work space as compliant with the relevant legislation, does that absolve us from any future legal liability?
A: To date, many employers have not visited an employees home office. A home visit is a vital part of an organisation's obligations under the relevant legislation. It should not be assumed that an employee has the relevant experience to self assess their workplace. Employers are required to fulfil ongoing duties under the Act such as communication, consultation and training.
Q: What happens in the event that a ‘Safe as Houses’ inspection identifies areas that are
non-compliant and need attention?
A: Safe as Houses will advise the employer of any areas where a rectification needs to take place. In our premium packages, we will visit the site until there is a level of confidence that the employer has worked toward meeting their duty of care as far as reasonably practicable.
Q: What is the nature of the report that ‘Safe as Houses’ produces, and who gets a copy?
A: The Employer contracts with Safe as Houses to produce a report on their remote worksite. The report covers more than the minimum regulatory requirements and provides a gold standard record of the workplace’s state of compliance.
Q: How much does a ‘Safe as Houses’ site inspection and report cost?
A: There are several packages available. Contact a Safe as Houses Inspector near you or fill out the quote request.
Q: What training and experience do ‘Safe as Houses’ site inspectors have?
A: All Safe as Houses Inspectors receive training at the SAH School. This proprietary course helps identify the key areas that should be inspected at each work site. Our experienced Inspectors are selected from backgrounds including safety, occupational therapists, senior executives and human resources professionals.
Q: What legal accountability and liability do ‘Safe as Houses’ have in relation to its inspections and reports?
A: We operate as an extension of the employer. Our service, therefore, does not indemnify the employer from its ongoing obligations.
Q: How can we be assured that the ‘Safe as Houses’ site inspector has the appropriate credentials and accreditation?
A: All inspectors that are issued a badge have the requisite police, working with children checks as well as having completed the Safe as Houses proprietary training courses.
Q: Once an organization engages ‘Safe as Houses’ to undertake a site inspection, what happens next?
A: A Pre-Visit Form is prepared by the inspector. The Pre-Visit Form provides the employee with details of the inspector conducting the visit, their name and badge/ID, what aspects of the workplace are to be inspected and what compliance requires. Once the Inspector is notified that the Pre-Visit Form has been sent out, they will contact to make arrangements within 48 hours (maximum). We aim to have a report provided to the Employer within 7 days of the inspection.
Q: What happens if a ‘Safe as Houses’ site inspector encounters problems or issues – such as the individual is uncooperative, or access to the site is denied, or there are other issues that the site inspector determines may be an unacceptable situation or risk?
A: An inspector will advise the client and a revisit may be required,
Q: Does ‘Safe as Houses’ offer a service to re-check any originally identified premises as requiring attention?
A: One rectification visit is included free in all our premium and subscription packages.
Q: Can ‘Safe as Houses’ help identify solutions or rectification actions if any non-compliant issues are identified?
A: In all cases, our inspectors will attempt to rectify issues that are identified on the day. A rectification visit is considered to be an exception.
Q: Does ‘Safe as Houses’ offer a regular/routine site inspection service to ensure that working from home WHS compliance is maintained?
A: Our premium packages offer "stay in touch" and scheduled annual or bi-annual visits.
Q: What happens when a remote staff member changes their circumstances or location?
A: Many large employers recognise how difficult it is to maintain employee discipline, particularly regarding change of address, phone number or emails. Our premium plans help flag when an individual has moved location.
Q: Does ‘Safe as Houses’ offer a nationwide service across Australia?
A: Safe as Houses operates in all capital cities of Australia. It is expected that arrangements can be made for most locations, however at this stage, we are at the recruitment and training phases outside major cities and towns.
Q: Our organization engages a number of people who work in remote locations. How can ‘Safe as Houses’ cater to these requirements?
A: Safe as Houses offer services to city and rural locations. Services and fees for some remote locations may require assessment on a case by case basis.
Q: Does ‘Safe as Houses’ offer discounts for organisations with a large number of remote staff?
A: We will endeavor to fulfil the needs of our clients.
Q: I am an employee or otherwise engaged by an organisation and work from home
full- or part-time. What are my rights?
A: You have the same rights as an employee working from the employer's offices. Both you and your employer have certain mutual duties to ensure your health and safety as far as is reasonably practicable.
Q: I am an employee or otherwise engaged by an organization and work from home full- or part-time, and I don’t think the organisation has adequately allowed for the working from home WHS requirements. What should I do?
A: Employees have an obligation under the act to ensure their own safety. In the first instance, employees should attempt to remove themselves from any potential risk in the workplace and seek support from their employer to rectify the situation.