COVID-19 legal advice hub

If you’ve had an accident at work, when working from home, what are your rights?

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and the Government’s advice, many of us are working from home, but if you were to have an accident at home whilst working, what are your legal rights? Our accident at work experts provide helpful advice on your legal rights when working from home.

Mother and child playing with cat indoors

Does my employer have a duty of care to look after my safety if I'm working from home?

Your employer has a duty to take reasonable care for your safety at work. Though the Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992 don’t apply to domestic premises, your employer would still be expected to take reasonable care for your safety when working at home. However, the extent of this duty would be limited due to the lack of control your employer has over your home.

Does the extent of the duty of care depend on the work I’m carrying out at home?

The extent of the duty of your employer would depend upon the type of work you’re carrying out at home. Your employer would be expected to carry out a risk assessment of the work to be carried out and consider the suitability of type of work you would be carrying out for the home environment generally.

If the work was suitable for the home generally, your employer would be expected to consider with you whether your specific home was suitable for the work to be carried out. For example, if you were making products at home such as toys or clothes, your employer could be expected to check you had sufficient space to make and store the products safely to avoid tripping accidents or items falling on you.

Would my employer have to visit my home to carry out an inspection before I’m able to work from home?

It’s unlikely that an employer would be expected to visit your home, although in some circumstances that might be necessary. It’s more likely that they would discuss appropriate safety measures with you.

If I had an accident at work whilst at home, would my employer be liable?

As you would have control over your home environment there would be a significant duty upon you to look after your own safety, but your employer would be expected to give you the tools and skills to do so and maintain the appropriate equipment for you to carry out the work.

Therefore, if you were to suffer an accident whilst working at home, your employer would

generally only be responsible if it was due to their negligence, meaning that they had failed to take reasonable care for your safety and the accident was due to that negligence.

In this current exceptional situation of COVID-19, if you were to be involved in an accident at home when working and a claim were made, it’s likely that the courts would be sympathetic to the difficulties faced by employers in keeping businesses running whilst protecting the safety of their employees.

PLEASE NOTE: this information was correct at the time of publication on 19 March 2020

Accident at work while working from home

What are your rights if you have an accident at work while working from home? Our legal experts explain.

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