Employees in non-traditional workspaces: FAQs

Date Posted: 06/24/2024
Remote worker on a video call with colleagues

The post-pandemic work world has seen an increasing number of employees opting for flexible work arrangements, such as working from home, independent project work, and business travel. In fact, recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that one out of five total workers are remote. Such work arrangements can pose unique challenges for employers. Following are frequently asked questions by employers.

Does OSHA inspect home offices?

OSHA has made it clear that it respects the privacy of the home and doesn’t conduct inspections of home offices. According to CPL 02-00-125 Home-Based Worksites, effective February 25, 2000, OSHA won’t:

  • Conduct inspections of workers’ home offices, or
  • Hold employers liable for workers’ home offices.

If OSHA receives a complaint about a home office, the complainant will be advised of OSHA’s policy. If a worker makes a specific request, OSHA may informally let employers know of complaints about home office conditions but won’t follow up with the employer or worker.

What about injury and illness recordkeeping?

Just because your employees aren’t physically at a corporate office doesn’t mean an occupational injury they experience as a remote, lone, or traveling worker doesn’t have to be recorded on your OSHA injury logs.

Employers who are required, because of their size or industry classification, to keep records of work-related injuries and illnesses will continue to be responsible for keeping such records, regardless of whether the injuries occur in a factory, home office, or elsewhere, as long as they’re work-related, and meet the recordability criteria of 29 CFR Part 1904.

An injury is considered recordable if it results in a work-related:

  • Death,
  • Loss of consciousness,
  • Days away from work,
  • Restricted work or transfer to another job,
  • Medical treatment beyond first aid, or
  • Significant injury or illness diagnosed by a physician or other licensed healthcare professional.

Home-based or remote workers must be linked to a fixed establishment, and any work-related injuries would be included on the 300 forms for that location. Employers shouldn’t create a unique 300 Log for their remote workers. An establishment, as defined at 1904.46, is a single physical location where business is conducted or where services or industrial operations are performed. This is typically the location from which the worker was hired, receives job assignments or work instructions, is supervised, or from which they’re paid.

An injury or illness that occurs while an employee is working from home is considered work-related if it occurs while the worker is performing work for pay or compensation and is directly related to the activities of the job rather than the home environment.

How Safety Management Suite Can Help

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More and more employees are working remotely, whether that’s at home, traveling on business, or another work arrangement. Join our webinar Crucial Concerns for Employers in Non-Traditional Workspaces on Thursday, June 27. Our regulatory experts will discuss ways that employers can prioritize safety and establish robust protective measures to ensure the well-being of their remote workforce. Log in or start your free trial and save your seat today!

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