Your questions answered: Do employees working from home need to have a fire extinguisher?

By Portner Press on August 16th, 2019
  1. Fire, Emergency & Incidents
  2. Fire Safety

Q
We are 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 in a workplace. If it is a mandatory requirement, 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 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.

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