Challenges for workplace risk assessment in home offices—results from a qualitative descriptive study on working life during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Latvia

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Abstract

Epidemiological restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic have raised legal and practical questions related to the provision of workplace risk assessment in home offices of teleworkers. The objective of this qualitative study was to analyze practical experience of employers and occupational safety and health experts performing workplace risk assessment in Latvia during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our findings suggest that employers have not sufficiently implemented their legal obligations related to workplace risk assessment which can result in an increased number of physical and mental health problems of teleworkers in the short term and in the future. Work from home has shown how different working conditions can be for the same type of work (office work); therefore, the promotion of personalized workplace risk assessment should be encouraged. Even if virtual workplace visits using photos and videos are not the traditional way the workplace risk assessment should be done, it is effective; workers who report that their employers assessed their working conditions report fewer health effects. The experience of workers in participation in workplace risk assessment for telework might change the level and role of worker participation in the management of health and safety hazards at work in general.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10876
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number20
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2021

Keywords*

  • Distance work
  • Home assessment
  • Home office
  • Occupational health
  • Occupational safety
  • Risk assessment methods
  • Telework
  • Workplace risk assessment

Field of Science*

  • 3.3 Health sciences

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database

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