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As the issue is more relevant than ever, it’s worth to discuss what to do if someone has an accident in home office and what fire protection requirements our home must meet in case of remote work.

But first, a little anomaly of wording. Simultaneously with the outbreak of the crown virus, plenty of companies introduced the possibility of working from home. This is what the common language calls “home office” today, so adapting to our environment, we will also refer to it as home office; however, it should be noted that according to the Labor Code of Hungary, that kind of work many of us have been practicing since the beginning of March is officially called “working from distance.” We raise important labor law issues when we talk about how long we can work in this setup or whether the employer can amend the contracts unilaterally. You may also want to read about these questions here or here.

In an older article, we have already summarized the main information about home office and distance working, as well as related safety issues. If anyone missed to read it, we would recommend to start with this summary. Since then, however, the popularity of this employment form has skyrocketed, so it can be assumed that sooner or later the first fire and work safety related questions will come as well. We’ve just gathered the ones we’ve faced with in the recent weeks, but of course we look forward to further questions as well.

If I have an accident at home office, is it a work accident?

It mainly depends on the type of accident you suffered, the time of it and the location. For example, if you burned your hand on a Tuesday at noon while baking pancakes; then it will clearly not be a work accident unless making pancakes is one of the tasks in your job description 🙂

But if you kick into the edge of your desk at ten in the morning and break your toe, or if you stumble and your ankle get sprain while going to open the door to a GLS delivery sent by the company, or pinch your finger to your laptop, they could be a work accident. Of course, this can only be defined by a health and safety specialist in all cases.

Do I still have to go for an occupational health examination if it has expired in the meantime?

Thanks to a new regulation, if the validity of the examination expires during the emergency phase, the employee is not obliged to renew it immediately. However, the test will have to be replaced within 15 days after the emergency phase. So, in fact, the employee can decide now: if he wants to and if the doctor accepts him, he can do the examination, or he can even wait. In this case, neither the employer nor the employee may be penalized.

If I don’t have a proper desk, chair, monitor, etc. at home can I take the company assets home?

This is determined by your employer’s internal regulations. No one was prepared for a home office this long, so many companies had no ready answer so far to what happens when colleagues can work from home on ergonomically inappropriate devices. It is advisable to consult with HR and / or IT. Many employers allow workers to take the equipment home, as it is common interest to avoid injuries or deterioration of spine, blood circulation, muscles, eyes take place during quaranteen. However, they usually make a statement and take an inventory of who took what home.

If I have to help my child learn online, can I do my job rather during in the afternoon?

According to the paper form, no, as the time frame fixed in the employment contract have not changed. If it states that the employee must be available and work between 10 and 15 o’clock; then this is also true for the home office. If you need to change the time frame anyway, talk to HR about it, as your problem can be fixed easily and quickly.

If I work from home now, do I have to buy a fire extinguisher?

No, it is not obligatory to obtain a fire extinguisher; on the other hand, professionally we highly recommend it. We’re not talking about a large investment in household size, but when there’s an emergency, it can even save lives. And now as everyone spends more time at home, it means more oven, computer and TV usage; on colder days, you still need heating all day as well. More cigarettes on the balcony than usual. So the potential of fire increases.

If you have any question regarding home office, fire or worksafety; please do not hesitate to contact us.