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Employers may need to reassess their health and safety provision for hybrid workers

A new study conducted by EcoOnline, a technology platform for safer workplaces, suggests half of employers may need to reassess their health and safety provision (protection of health, safety & wellbeing) for hybrid workers.

The Hybrid Working Study, which was conducted in December 2021, and surveyed health & safety professionals from 447 companies, reveals that only one in two firms (52 per cent) are providing safety training for staff based partly at home.

Against the context of a shifting societal attitude towards the workplace, and a sharp increase in hybrid working models, these figures according to EcoOnline highlight how businesses must act now to adequately protect workforces in a more fluid and remote office environment.

This means organisations will have to adapt their approach to accommodate for each individual. For most organisations this home-working and hybrid model will mean a comprehensive risk assessment.

However, while nearly six out of 10 firms are planning on carrying out new risk assessments for their hybrid team, there’s a substantial minority (43 per cent) who don’t plan to do so.

Looking at how these assessments will be conducted, one in two will ask employees to fill out a risk-assessment form, while 37 per cent will continue to use their current approaches along with an in-office assessment. A tiny minority (four per cent) will send health and safety professionals to their colleagues’ homes for an in-person review, and three per cent will conduct online video assessments with managers or a H&S practitioner.

There are some gaps between the self-risk assessment provision and subsequent training. As you’d expect, almost all companies are asking about workplace ergonomics (97 per cent) in the risk assessment, but only 14 per cent plan to provide training in correct posture and workstation set-up.

The research found that, when it came to risk assessment, 84 per cent highlighted stress (e.g. from overwork or isolation). While approaching nine out of 10 claim managing stress will be covered in the learning sessions, only 10 per cent say their company training covers avoiding isolation specifically and just 2 per cent report that it will look at managing workload and scheduling breaks. However, some training programmes exploring stress or remote communications could well incorporate topics such as isolation and workload management.

Positively, 85 per cent coach colleagues on remote communications. Common topics within the home risk assessment are electrical safety (81 per cent), trip hazards (71 per cent) and fire safety (71 per cent) alongside heating and ventilation (61 per cent).

According to the results of the study, hybrid working is here to stay, yet only one in three are very confident their organisation is fully prepared for the management challenges hybrid working demands. However, only four per cent said they were very unconfident that their leadership was ready for the new hybrid world.

Commenting on the study, Dr Catherine Jordan, Health & Safety Product Specialist, EcoOnline said: “Employers need to remember that their duty of care for their people’s health, safety and wellbeing extends to the at-home part of their working lives. Managing the blend of home and office working requires planning and communication. Risk assessment is an important precursor to any new working arrangement, but it is only one consideration in the successful management of worker safety, health and wellbeing.”

She added: “While the experience of the past two years has been seminal, it will only partly prepare workers and organisations for the changes now underway. Those businesses most likely to thrive in a hybrid working future will have; risk assessed the implications of a hybrid work model and the suitability of individuals’ homes for extended working, provided the right equipment and provided training in the planned approach, updated procedures and guidance to managing the safety, health & welfare of all in the new and changing world of work.”

Waste Management and Recycling Survey

FMJ in conjunction with Grundon Waste Management have launched the 2022 survey into how FMs approach their waste management and recycling responsibilities.

It’s the fifth year for the annual appraisal, and as we return to normal, there is a real opportunity for FMs to reappraise their waste and recycling operations and look at new, smarter waste management strategies.

In order to understand how FMs have navigated their way through the last year and their plans for meeting stringent waste and recycling targets we’ve posed a series of questions which include insights into FMs’ waste management strategy and targets, such as zero waste and landfill, the types of waste organisations produce and what helps FMs promote waste management in their organisations?

Please share your experiences and opinions on waste management. The survey will take just five minutes to complete, and as a thank you for taking part, respondents will be entered into a prize draw to win a £150 Amazon gift card.

To take part click here.

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