Recent reviews of UK health and safety legislation by Lord Young and Professor Ragnar Löfstedt recognised a need to reduce the burden on small businesses and low risk activities.
As a result, the Health and Safety Executive has issued revised guidance on home working - INDG 226.
The changes mean there will be fewer requirements for employers concerning health and safety compliance.
Where the type of work carried out at home is deemed 'low risk' - office-type work - the employer will only be responsible for the equipment it supplies.
In order to satisfy themselves that the activity being performed by the employee is low risk, we advise employers to review the situation carefully.
Work activities at home involving more risk - manual work or working with adhesives or soldering - will need much greater assessment of the risks involved.
Here, any equipment supplied by the employer must be in good condition and properly maintained. Furthermore, correct personal protective equipment must be supplied if required.
Where the use of display screen equipment is required, risk assessments will still be required for all home workers.
Whilst there may be less interest from the regulators concerning to home working, any prudent employer will still need to satisfy itself that the risk of the activity being carried out at home is 'low' in order to benefit from the relaxation of the rules.
So despite them being eased, we advise employers to continue to keep records of how they risk-assess home working, because failure to do so may leave you exposed.