How To Prevent Work-Related Injuries For Telecommuting Workers

Posted on: 22 November 2017

Telecommuting workers are entitled to workers' compensation benefits just as workers on your business premises. Unfortunately, you may not be able to control your telecommuting workers closely enough, and this increases their risk of injury. Take the following measures to reduce the risk of injuries for your telecommuting workers and also mitigate your exposure to workers' compensation claims from such employees:

Create a Telecommuting Policy

One of the dangers of telecommuting workers is that they often have considerable leeway on how they can work and the tools they may need to do the work. This increases the risk of injuries for telecommuting workers who may not engage in safe working practices or use the right tools and equipment. For example, if you have a welder who works in a designated garage in your workplace, it is easy to ensure that they always have their safety features on while working.

However, if you allow the welder to do some of the work in their private garage at home, they may skimp on some of the safety issues. To reduce the risk of such incidences, create and enforce a telecommuting policy for your workers. Have the workers read and sign the policies to increase their chances of adhering to the regulations. Also, make periodic checks on telecommuting workers to confirm that they adhere to these regulations.

Limit It to Suitable Jobs

Telecommuting is not for everyone, and neither is it suitable for all kinds of jobs. Ideally, you should only allow your workers to perform relatively safe tasks from their homes. For example, the above example of a welding job is too dangerous to be performed at home; such jobs should be performed in your premises under the guidance of a supervisor. Relatively safer jobs such as completing paperwork that can be done on a computer, however, may be safe to handle at home. In fact, you should go a step further and only allow workers who work well and safely without supervision to work from home.

Set Fixed Hours of Work

The more a person works without resting, the higher their chances of incurring an accident. Unfortunately, most people don't know how to pace their work while working from home. It is not unusual to find telecommuters working through their lunchtime or working late into the night without serious brakes. This is even truer for commission-based work. Therefore, create a fixed working schedule for your workers and ensure that they have suitable breaks, including lunchtime.

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