Home Office – DEKRA Takes it Remote

When experts for occupational safety and learning media work together, it’s usually due to a new module for the DEKRA Safety Web. The latest software development is tailored to the needs of companies that want to let employees work remotely from home. A first systems check.

DEKRA experts for occupational safety have developed software that supports companies in the risk assessment and instruction of their employees who are working from home. Photo: DEKRA

The home office is likely to remain a fixture in the post-pandemic world of work. After all, a number of office jobs can be done well by employees working from home. But do you just put the laptop in the living room, move the glass table to the sofa, dim the lights – and you’ve got a workplace with style and atmosphere? Probably not. An employer’s alarm bells would ring if he knew that an employee was setting up their office this way. Yet knowledge is exactly what the law demands from an employer when he sends his people to work from home. “The Occupational Health and Safety Act has clear specifications in this regard,” knows Jörg Lobe, Specialist Area Manager for Occupational Safety at DEKRA. According to these specifications, the employer must assess the hazards at work and take measures to prevent them from becoming a health hazard. Logically, this can only be done if he can first get a look at working conditions on site. In addition, the employer must instruct the employee about the hazards at their home workplace. In both cases, it wouldn’t be practical to pay the colleague a visit in their home office. As DEKRA expert Lobe reports, this would be contrary to the right of inviolability of the home. But how do risk assessment and instruction work in practice?

DEKRA Safety Web is a first-class address for online instructions

A first stop could be DEKRA Safety Web, the online instruction portal for occupational health and safety. Here you can already find web-based training on home office issues, including knowledge about ergonomic workplaces, IT security, data protection, work organization, and communication. By contrast, an application for risk assessment so far hasn’t been available on the DEKRA Safety Web. This is now being remedied by a brand-new software development that effectively links up with DEKRA Safety Web’s home office instruction. The DEKRA experts around Jörg Lobe have taken another look at the individual modules and combined them with questions that intend to illuminate the user’s working environment at the end of the respective course unit. For example, how does the employee assess the luminosity at his or her workplace? Are computers and printers provided by the employer safe? Is the desk area large enough for the work to be performed? The bottom line is that employees have to answer around 50 precise questions using a rating scale.

Knowledge transfer and risk analysis all in one

The new program therefore kills two birds with one stone: knowledge transfer and inquiry about the specific home office situation take place in one go. The employee is sensitized to the topic by the preceding course unit and can therefore answer the questions about their own situation much more accurately than without the appropriate preparation. The effort itself is manageable – instruction and risk assessment can be completed in 45 minutes. Anyone who answers enough correct questions in the knowledge test can download a certificate of participation, which documents the successful completion of the instruction.

Occupational safety specialist ensures conclusive risk assessment

For occupational safety specialists, this is where the work begins. Their job is to convert the employee’s individual risk assessment into a coherent hazard evaluation. To do this, the expert examines each individual answer to determine where problems may be lurking. The risk analysis is documented with a clear color and points scheme. Signal color green indicates that everything is in order. If the risk is higher, the color yellow comes into play. Bright red indicates an acute need for action. The company then has the opportunity to make targeted improvements to the critical points. At the end, the DEKRA expert can assess the company’s remaining risk on the basis of measures taken. For the company, this procedure has the advantage that it’s always legally compliant with regard to risk assessment and instruction of its employees working from home.

Here you will find everything about the DEKRA Safety Web offers.

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