From the standpoint of occupational risk prevention, the possibility of teleworking from different locations can involve an increase in costs, as well as difficulties in ensuring that workers are adequately protected from the risks of their job position.
An employer’s obligation to assess occupational risks is associated with the job position in question. Such assessment must bear in mind the working conditions that may affect the creation of risks for the worker’s health and safety.
Where services are provided remotely, it is necessary to ensure that the working conditions are the same as those that the employee would have in the company workplace and the risk assessment must be carried out in all the places in which the employee will be performing his/her duties.
Remote Working Law 10/2021 of July 9, 2021 does not limit the places from which employees may choose to provide their services, and only stipulates that the minimum content of the teleworking agreement must include the place from which the work will be performed.
In those cases in which the teleworking agreement allows the worker to choose more than one place from which to telework (a second home, a temporary residence, a public place etc.), the risk assessment cannot be limited to the worker’s home or to a single place of work, but must be carried out in all the places in which the activity will be performed.
This not a trivial matter, because the possibility of working from different geographic locations multiplies the occupational risk assessments to be carried out and also makes it difficult for the prevention services to carry out their assessments.
In addition, Law 10/2021 establishes that the risk evaluations must be performed on the basis of the information obtained from the employees, which they send via the tool designated for the purpose by the risk prevention service. Once this information has been obtained, the risk assessment may only be performed by the prevention experts, since self-assessments by the employees themselves are no longer valid (this was an emergency, temporary solution, implemented during the Covid-19 health crisis), as has been confirmed by the National Health and Safety Institute.
Being permissive in allowing employees to choose more than one place from which to telework can involve an increase in the resources used to cover prevention obligations.
Rosario Rodríguez de la Morena