Who is responsible for my health and safety as a homeworker?

If you are worried that your homework may be affecting you or your family's health or safety, contact your union or an advice agency. As a homeworker, you have certain rights under health and safety laws.

Employers must carry out a risk assessment of the work activities carried out by a homeworker. This assessment includes identifying any hazards and who is at risk, then taking action to remove the hazards or to reduce them as far as possible.

The employer must write down the results of the risk assessment, do follow-up checks from time to time and take further action if necessary.

Some common hazards that homeworkers face are:

  • using electrical equipment;
  • using certain substances (e.g. glues/adhesives);
  • working extensively with VDUs;
  • not taking appropriate breaks (e.g. due to pressure to get work completed);
  • working in isolation;
  • risks to children from work equipment; and
  • security threats (e.g. as a result of having expensive equipment stored in the home or giving out home telephone numbers to clients or customers of the business).

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has produced a booklet called Homeworking: Guidance for Employers on Health and Safety (PDF, 90KB). It gives useful information on the steps that employers should take to protect the health and safety of their homeworkers.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.