1 min read

Do employees working from home need fire extinguishers?

Q: My organisation is currently putting together a Working From Home Policy and we would like to clarify if having a fire extinguisher in the home is a mandatory requirement, seeing as it is a workplace, and if so, who is responsible to purchase and maintain it?

A: In short, there is no mandatory requirement under the Work Health and Safety Act (WHS Act) to provide fire extinguishers to employees who work in a home office, unless they are working with hazardous chemicals, in which case a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) has a duty to provide fire protection and firefighting equipment.

Generally, in respect of a workplace, including a home office, a PCBU will need to conduct a risk assessment, then implement reasonably practicable control measures capable of eliminating, where possible, or otherwise minimising the risks identified.

Whether a PCBU is required to provide fire extinguishers to employees who work in a home office will depend on whether there is a likely risk of injury from fire that can reasonably be controlled by the provision of a fire extinguisher. Subject to cost, providing fire extinguishers would be a reasonable practicable step to minimise a risk of fire.

Please note: The answer is correct at the time of publishing. Be aware that laws may change over time. Refer to Health and safety in the workplace for current advice.

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