Working remotely has become the norm. Thanks to technological advances, it’s entirely possible to conduct a majority of work from the home office. Since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, it’s no longer just a convenience but also a requirement for some companies. Our discussion this week, will not only provide guidance for creating a safe remote work environment but may also help make your home a safer place for you and your loved ones.
Monday – Remote Work and Workplace Safety
Understanding the regulations is the first step to ensuring your safety practices are properly protecting your employees. The OSHA standard states “The OSH Act applies to work performed by an employee in any workplace within the United States, including a workplace located in the employee's home. All employers, including those which have entered into "work at home" agreements with employees, are responsible for complying with the OSH Act and with safety and health standards”.
Tuesday– Identifying Hazards in the Home
Just like in the workplace, it’s easy to overlook potential safety hazards in the home when you see it every day. Today we will look at some common hazards in the home so everyone can review the safety of their home with a fresh perspective.
- Carbon Monoxide
Wednesday – Best Practices
Now that we’ve identified some of the common household hazards, let’s take a minute to discuss best practices for eliminating or reducing these hazards at home.
- Check the area for trip hazards such as electrical cords, toys or misplaced furniture. Cover slippery surfaces such as bathroom and kitchen floors.
- Periodically check smoke detectors to make sure they are functioning properly. Have a fire extinguisher readily available.
- Take proper steps when handling electrical issues or defer to the experts.
- Install a CO detector, regularly service HVAC systems, water heaters and other appliances that use gas at least once per year to check for leaks.
- Store kitchen tools properly, point knives and sharp utensils down in the dishwasher, put away yard tools.
- Just like at work, PPE is a must when handling hot objects especially in the kitchen. Have a first aid kit on hand for common injuries like burns.
Thursday – Remote Work Health and Safety
The last two days we’ve discussed home safety in general. Today we will pose several questions to help determine if you have a safe workspace.
- Assess the ergonomics of your workspace. Do you have supportive seating? Are you taking breaks to avoid sitting too long or eye strain from extended screen time?
- Is your immediate workspace free of trip hazards such as electrical cords?
- Have you assessed potential electrical hazards such as overloaded electrical outlets, space heaters, extension cords? Is the space well ventilated? Do have properly functioning smoke detectors and a readily available fire extinguisher?
Friday – Open Discussion
This week we have covered several aspects of home safety and workspace safety. Now let’s open it up to the group for discussion.
- If you are working remotely, have you assessed your workspace safety?
- If you have identified hazards, have they been corrected? Do you need additional help to reduce or eliminate the hazard?
- For general home safety, how do you keep your home safe for yourself and your loved ones?
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