Workplace safety audits for home-based workers?

Date: Jul 06, 2011

A recent ruling in Queensland could force employers to carry out workplace safety audits on the properties of employees who are primarily home-based.

The state’s Administrative Appeals Tribunal has decreed that Telstra must pay medical and legal costs to a 42-year-old employee who suffered two falls at her home during her employment.

Dale Hargreaves – who worked on marketing campaigns for the telecommunications firm from her townhouse in Brisbane – fell in her home on two separate occasions, including one instance where she slipped wearing socks on her way to the refrigerator for cough medicine.

As a result of the falls and the subsequent injuries to her shoulder, Ms Hargreaves was forced to leave Queensland and move back to Victoria to live with her parents because of medical and financial circumstances.

It is unknown whether she will be able to work again.

The tribunal determined that the shoulder injuries she sustained as a result of the fall arose out of her employment with Telstra and were therefore workplace injuries.

According to Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry policy manager Nick Behrens, the ruling could mean that employers must check out safety audits in home offices.

But Australian Industry Group industrial law specialist David Miller remarked that health and safety concerns for home-based workers are a reasonable consideration for employers.

“If you are going to have people working from home on a regular basis … do your investigation and your site safety report in just the same way as you would in your office,” he said.

Sydney home-based workers who have suffered an injury while on the job – or while travelling to or from work – may wish to consult with a local personal injury lawyer to evaluate any potential claims for compensation.

This compensation can include medical or other rehabilitation expenses, compensation for loss of wages – including loss of earnings or weekly benefits as well as your legal costs.

If, like Ms Hargreaves, you have suffered an injury that may result in a permanent impairment, you may be entitled to lump sum compensation in some circumstances – including compensation for pain and suffering.

You may wish to consult with a no win no fee lawyer to enquire about the level of compensation you may be entitled to and assess the likely success of your claim.

No win no fee lawyers who specialise in personal injury law can be an excellent port of call if you are unsure of your legal rights when it comes to seeking compensation from a work-related incident.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.