Working from home has become more common now with the Covid-19 Pandemic. Prime Minister Mottley has asked the public and private sector to work from home where possible. However, although this measure lessens the risk of spread; there is still another risk to workers that must be considered; their safety and health whilst working from home.
The Occupational Safety and Health of employees is critical as they transition to working from home and it becomes even more serious as the risks increase in unknown and uncontrolled environments.
(Alli) defines Occupational safety and health “as the science of the anticipation, recognition, evaluation and control of hazards arising in or from the workplace that could impair the health and well-being of workers…”
The Safety and Health at Work Act covers Occupational Safety and Health in Barbados and was amended in 2015. While it defines an employee as “any person employed by any employer to do any work for hire or reward,” in (“Country”) it does not give any guidelines to govern working from home.
Given the nature of the situation which necessitates the current arrangement; Barbadian employers should still make the safety and health of their employees a priority.
While the standard business would have undergone safety and health inspections and have insurance coverage for the building and equipment, this will not be the case for many homes. These factors and more need to be taken into consideration by employers, as they seek to migrate work to a home-based environment.
It may not be practical at this point for employers to provide their employees with the exact working environment they usually would at the business location. However, these are some steps they can take to ensure the safety and health of employees is not neglected.