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RKC7  
#1 Posted : 17 March 2020 13:23:25(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
RKC7

Hi All,

With regards to the information the PM sent out yesterday, and now with many companies sending staff to work from home in vast numbers. How does this play in with regards to DSE assessments at home? Seems to me like a problematic area. If not suitable and sufficient, would companies be liable to purchase desks/chairs/PC monitors and equipment etc Thanks in advance

Invictus  
#2 Posted : 17 March 2020 13:26:33(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Invictus

Originally Posted by: RKC7 Go to Quoted Post

Hi All,

With regards to the information the PM sent out yesterday, and now with many companies sending staff to work from home in vast numbers. How does this play in with regards to DSE assessments at home? Seems to me like a problematic area. If not suitable and sufficient, would companies be liable to purchase desks/chairs/PC monitors and equipment etc Thanks in advance

Give a self assessment form.
thanks 1 user thanked Invictus for this useful post.
Yossarian on 17/03/2020(UTC)
Yossarian  
#3 Posted : 17 March 2020 13:37:59(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Yossarian

Hi RKC7,

My gut feel is that you are already a bit late to this party as you should have already set up this system as part of our wider business continuity planning projects in order to be running with this now.

However one thing we decided is that staff were responsible for their own set up because managers cannot be expected to visit and staff would probably not appreciate this.

We do not provide desks or chairs, but before home working can be approved employees have to prepare a DSE setup self assessment questionnaire and review it with their manager to ensure the way they propose to work is broadly compliant as well as ensuring they have all the relevant peripherals (hardware, security software etc.)

Hope this helps.

Ian Bell2  
#4 Posted : 17 March 2020 19:09:11(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Ian Bell2

Given the current situation, DSE assessments wouldn't be high on my list of priorities

thanks 5 users thanked Ian Bell2 for this useful post.
chris42 on 18/03/2020(UTC), rach108 on 18/03/2020(UTC), steve8319 on 20/03/2020(UTC), ttxela on 24/03/2020(UTC), WatsonD on 24/03/2020(UTC)
Roundtuit  
#5 Posted : 17 March 2020 20:25:30(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

Yet unfortunately there are those for whom this would be an absolute - all hail the clipboard - more paper to file
Invictus  
#6 Posted : 18 March 2020 08:38:06(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Invictus

outdated regs.

RayRapp  
#7 Posted : 18 March 2020 08:51:50(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
RayRapp

I'm with Ian Bell et al, hardly a show stopper at the best of times. When will people realise that under most circumstances working from home is a luxury. Surely, there are more pressing matters at this point in time?

Mark-W  
#8 Posted : 18 March 2020 09:35:36(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Mark-W

1 of my clients is planning this now, they have no virus issues, reducing vistors to office, hand gel everywhere, and so on.

They are sending the helpdesk manager and 1 contract manager to work from home on Thurs to prove their system works.

They will have their desktop installed at home by the IT manager, due to the office setup, new screens will be purchased, dongles for internet access and a new licence to allow remote access to the server. Currently only 5 on licence and I'm 1 of the 5. But it's best part of a grand to have another 15 added.

You know when you're a luddite when it comes to technology when your told that that you can plug the fancy office phone into your socket at home and it will still respond as if it's in the office. Apparently software is being installed. But then it's not your normal phone. There are 2 clip on sidecars that have the ability to route calls to preprogrammed numbers with the touch of a button.

Ian Bell2  
#9 Posted : 18 March 2020 11:37:17(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Ian Bell2

Agree with #6 the DSE regs are not fit for purpose. Nobody saw the expansion in the use of computers and other computer devices when the DSE regs were brought in to h&s law.

They should be repealed.

A Schedule to PUWER to consider ergonomics etc and set up of workstations etc and eye sight tests etc would be sufficient.

hopeful  
#10 Posted : 18 March 2020 12:23:20(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
hopeful

We already have home workers and for those we provide equipment as required. While most can work from home we see this as a luxury not a right or for remote workers they are out and about for the majority of their time so less impact. We inform about good ergonomics and expect staff to follow this. In this exceptional cirumstance we are supporting staff so that they can work from home and can continue to contribute to the work we do as a charity for as long as possible and get paid. We are reminding people about ergonomnis and breaks etc but really focussing on mental well being to address the isolation and challenges home working brings as well as the added stresses because of the situation. This is far more important that 3 months at a kitchen table and a piece of paper in my mind, as long as we remind people about ergonomics and support if they have aches and pains.

A Kurdziel  
#11 Posted : 18 March 2020 14:23:58(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

I looked after several hundred home based workers I to be honest I don’t see what the fuss is about.

First get them to do a self-assessment. They should be made aware that employers have a duty to make sure that their workplace is adequate but that we are not going to build them a home office. It is perfectly possible to create a decent work station using a kitchen table and chairs. We did do a couple of home visits but this was for special cases, who had issues which were identified previously. It is possible to advise people over the phone and using photographs.

One thing that people get hung up about with DSE is this idea that it is all about the kit and that is must be specialised expensive equipment hat has the word “ergonomic “attached to it. Of course it does not, it just has to be suitable for what they are doing. One thing that they should all be doing is taking breaks. Nobody should typing or whatever continuously for more than 30 minutes. Regular short breaks are what it is all about. It is easier to do those at home: get up and make a brew or stoke the cat,  or shout at the neighbour’s dog. Things that in some offices you might not be allowed to do as there is a supervisor watching over you ensuring “productivity” ie evidence that you re at the keyboard doing something. Most people like working at home because it means that they can plan their work and especially when they take those important breaks

thanks 1 user thanked A Kurdziel for this useful post.
Aleksandra on 19/03/2020(UTC)
rach108  
#12 Posted : 18 March 2020 20:06:34(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
rach108

Originally Posted by: Ian Bell2 Go to Quoted Post

Given the current situation, DSE assessments wouldn't be high on my list of priorities

We took this view too. We decided people and the wider population were at more risk remaining at work. In addition we had managers discuss home working and needs with individual employees.  They then decided what items people needed to take with them or be provided with, given that the period of home working is as yet, unknown.

Kate  
#13 Posted : 19 March 2020 08:10:20(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Kate

But that sounds like a DSE assessment to me!  You have looked into the needs and provided for them, how is that not a DSE assessment?

safetyamateur  
#14 Posted : 19 March 2020 08:48:00(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
safetyamateur

Totally agree DSE isn't high on the priority list at the moment but some of these replies could be taken by some as health risks associated with DSE aren't worthy of control. 

3 months at an unsuitable workstation could impact health further down the line and 3 months of  "it's not relevant now" could health & safety culture when this is all over.

I relate to the OP. Certainly don't want to be the clipboard ahole but don't like to see safety principles swept aside without due consideration.   

Invictus  
#15 Posted : 19 March 2020 09:52:35(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Invictus

I completed the assessment I have told staff when they are sitting up in bed using the laptop to put a pillow behind thier backs to stop from sweating and dirtying the headboard. Jobs a goodin. 

safetyamateur  
#16 Posted : 19 March 2020 10:37:54(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
safetyamateur

Originally Posted by: Invictus Go to Quoted Post

I completed the assessment I have told staff when they are sitting up in bed using the laptop to put a pillow behind thier backs to stop from sweating and dirtying the headboard. Jobs a goodin. 

That's funny. Really funny.

Suggest OP ignores your advice.

nic168  
#17 Posted : 19 March 2020 13:45:51(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
nic168

 I have just heard the HSE have put out a stattement about DSE assessments for tempory Remote working, but I cannot find it, if it emerges I will post a link.

 Refering to the cost/investment in kit issue, for most people using a laptop they will need a keyboard and a mouse, both are readily and cheaply available ( under £10 each in supermarket last week). A decent work surface and a chair are available in most homes and can be adpated , laptop stands and foot rests can be improvised from domestic detritus. This will give a suitable set up for a couple of weeks for most people.

When it starts to get difficult is when this looks to be a long term arrangement we need to think about the long term effects of  spending 7 hours a day at the dining room table/ kitchen table/breakfast bar or whatever, squinting at a lap top.

I know not everyone here gets involved with this type of Health and safety, occ health is slow burning stuff compared to many other safety problems but this is something that could really cause problems in 3- 6 months.

I am off to review my remote working DSE forms, if anyone would like a share PM me. No snarky stuff .

Invictus  
#18 Posted : 19 March 2020 14:05:12(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Invictus

It's about time people got real including the HSE, the same people working friom home spend hours on laptops as it is. It will be 6 -8 weeks and were all panicing. I think the company best order desks and chairs and have them delivered because the ones at work we will need when people return and we can't pick up the ones from thier houses.

Self assessm,ent is sufficient, i won't ne advising anything else. Most people who don't normally work at home will sit at the kitchen table for 7 hours they will put the computer on and do all sorts of thisng checking every now and again. Plus working from home is not confined to 7 hours people will do some stuff later on when they have put the kids to bed etc. Only those who are set up with an office and who have done it for a long time might stick to hours.

nic168  
#19 Posted : 19 March 2020 15:54:41(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
nic168

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKHSE/bulletins/2820cf2

 link to HSE bulletin about temporary home working.

thanks 3 users thanked nic168 for this useful post.
Kate on 19/03/2020(UTC), RVThompson on 20/03/2020(UTC), achrn on 23/03/2020(UTC)
safetyamateur  
#20 Posted : 20 March 2020 11:10:44(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
safetyamateur

Originally Posted by: nic168 Go to Quoted Post

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKHSE/bulletins/2820cf2

 link to HSE bulletin about temporary home working.

Finally, something more akin to safety professionalism as I know it.

OP, follow this advice.

Hsquared14  
#21 Posted : 20 March 2020 12:43:12(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Hsquared14

Originally Posted by: Invictus Go to Quoted Post

outdated regs.

DSE regs are on my hit list of unnecessary legislation, legislation made redundant by technology or generally unhelpful legislation.  Roll on the day when the HSE bites the bullet and gets rid of the dross. 

Specifically when considering people working from home there are two considerations firstly have you given them a DSE self assessment form (email them one!) and secondly this is probably not your biggest risk at the moment.

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RayRapp on 23/03/2020(UTC)
rebeccachurchman  
#22 Posted : 23 March 2020 15:52:33(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
rebeccachurchman

Hi,  Is 3 months classed as temporary? 

This is something I am struggling with.  All staff have the opportunity to work from home and have been provided with a laptop as part of the buisness continuity (most are not allowed to work from home normally). 

If the business required them to work from home, I would expect a DSE self assessment and the company to pay for extras like  keyboard and mouse etc.  However, our office is still open, although they have been encouraged to work from home, due to government advice.

Homeworking is a luxury in this climate, as it is allowing the employees to continue working with full pay. The company cannot afford to buy all this equiptment for the whole company, as are prioritising keeping all staff on full pay already.

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nic168 on 25/03/2020(UTC)
Roundtuit  
#23 Posted : 23 March 2020 19:03:35(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

If you read the HSE post a DSE assessment is not required. Most people have their own equipment at home which they merrily use without all the who ha of such assessments. That said 3 months is not generally construed as temporary but then in this current environment.
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WatsonD on 24/03/2020(UTC)
RayRapp  
#24 Posted : 23 March 2020 19:13:14(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
RayRapp

If you can't make yourself comfortable in your own home then there is something seriously wrong with you - that's my DSE risk assessment! 

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RVThompson on 24/03/2020(UTC), WatsonD on 24/03/2020(UTC)
nic168  
#25 Posted : 25 March 2020 09:08:21(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
nic168

 Ray, many of my collegues do have someting wrong with them, my first 6 months in post involved a steady stream of DSE related problems. 2 Years on and I still getting a couple a month (employers dont believe in training or awareness for DSE or manual Handling). 

When we were originally told to to work at home for a couple of weeks I have circulated links to an online refresher training package, guidance on adapting your set up using everyday items and some other bits and pieces.

Now we could be looking at months, and I am worried about the long term physical effects. I am aso concerned about the prospect of future claims against the employer , particularly by those trhose who had previously known conditions which were overlooked in the initial stampede.

Refernce the need to provide kit- as your offices are not in use whay not redeploy some of the equipment there? Mice , laptopstand and keyborards would be a good starting point. 

thanks 3 users thanked nic168 for this useful post.
A Kurdziel on 25/03/2020(UTC), rdacosta on 25/03/2020(UTC), Kate on 25/03/2020(UTC)
RayRapp  
#26 Posted : 25 March 2020 09:55:30(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
RayRapp

nic168, sorry if I came across as unsympathetic, but in this current emergency people are dying, health workers are putting their lives at risk and millions are being put out of work with no pay!

Ye Gods, get a grip on reality matey.

rdacosta  
#27 Posted : 25 March 2020 10:17:02(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
rdacosta

Hi RKC, Trying to be constructive here.

This is not DSE risk assessment heavy but British Safety Council were running a promotion where they were giving their Remote Workers' Health, Safety and Welfare online training course for free. (it takes approx 30 mins to complete)

Its a general assessment and covers quite a few areas including DSE and I think it's still available for free https://www.britsafe.org/products/remote-working/ Would be good for remote workers to go through it, there is a short quiz at the end to test understanding.

HSE guidance is also available https://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/workers/home.htm?utm_source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=coronavirus&utm_term=homeworking&utm_content=bulletin-19-mar-20. It points out that DSE assessment is not needed if it is 'temporary' what that means is up to interpretation and risk assessment. 

Hope this helps with your query.

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nic168 on 25/03/2020(UTC)
Kate  
#28 Posted : 25 March 2020 10:57:51(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Kate

Since when was it only the life-threatening risks that we cared about?  Does a business that has work at height operations where fatality is a real risk therefore ignore all the long term health issues of their operations relating to manual handling, noise, chemicals etc just because they don't have fatality as a consequence?

Just because something isn't the top priority, doesn't mean we should totally ignore it.

thanks 1 user thanked Kate for this useful post.
safetyamateur on 25/03/2020(UTC)
A Kurdziel  
#29 Posted : 25 March 2020 11:14:30(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

As my wife and kids are now in the house I have moved into my son’s bedroom as he has desk for me to work on. Did a quick DSE assessment and concluded that it is about 2 inches too low.  I need a monitor riser and the desk raising by a bit. I can’t get facilities staff to arrange for the desk to be raised as they are all at home so I will be on the lookout for some wooden blocks. In the interim I have decided to take more microbreaks and have just enjoyed postmaster on radio 2. Terrible score.

safetyamateur  
#30 Posted : 25 March 2020 12:01:05(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
safetyamateur

Originally Posted by: Kate Go to Quoted Post

Since when was it only the life-threatening risks that we cared about?  Does a business that has work at height operations where fatality is a real risk therefore ignore all the long term health issues of their operations relating to manual handling, noise, chemicals etc just because they don't have fatality as a consequence?

Just because something isn't the top priority, doesn't mean we should totally ignore it.

Exactly. We're safety professionals on all fronts; now and when this is over.

Love the 'can do' attitude but you never ignore risk. Not aware of any of our legislation being repealed or modified; and nor should it be - ever. Leave the DSE Regs where they are and promote safety at work in all its guises.

Bass900063  
#31 Posted : 25 March 2020 16:35:23(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Bass900063

In my organisation (office closed since 17th March and 1000+ office based employees) we have prioritised arranging WFH kit for staff who have reasonable adjustments due to health condiations or disability - this has involved couriering bespoke chairs and other specialist kit to their home addresses. The second group of people are pregnant workers - making sure thay have everything they need to work comfortably. The third group - that we are working with now - is the rest of the workforce.

Everyone has a laptop anyway so really it's just making sure that they have the other kit they need to be able to work comfortably - a desk or table (some of our staff live in one room in a flat share or similar and don't have this already), a suitable chair, keyboard and mouse. We have instructed them to raise the laptop up to the right height using books/biscuit tine/etc - nobody needs a fancy laptop stand - similarly with foot rests. We have set a budget and people can claim back expenses to a certain value.

All staff are also being prompted to log onto our online DSE training which has a pretty good section about working from a laptop and are also being reminded to take regular breaks. We are not completing DSE assessments for our staff WFH but we are sending them the link to the hSE self assessment form and asking them to let us know if they have any concerns regarding their set up after they have purchased any necessary kit.

Whilst we are certianly being realistic and remembering that nobody ever died (as far as I know!) from a poorly set up workstation we are doing all we can to make sure that our staff can work as comfortably as possible during this time. We are also acknowledging the potential impact on mental health and are encouraging team meetings, shared coffee breaks, Friday night drink, etc by Skype. Our CEO is also emailing us regularly to acknowledge the challenges people may be experiencing with juggling work and childcare/homeschooling, etc. and reassuring us that full output is not expected and flexibility is required - this is a welcome message!

I hope this helps the OP and doesn't attract too much critisism from the people who haven't answered the original question but have used this thread to scoff. This is not the biggest risk to health to worry about at the moment but it is still something that needs consideration and input from H&S professionals and if we can share our examples of how we are managing this risk practically then lets carry on doing that.

Edited by user 25 March 2020 16:48:39(UTC)  | Reason: added more

thanks 3 users thanked Bass900063 for this useful post.
Kate on 25/03/2020(UTC), nic168 on 26/03/2020(UTC), safetyamateur on 27/03/2020(UTC)
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