Working from home offers excellent flexibility, within reason, especially if you’re your own boss. The possibilities are endless; you can create your working schedules, sleep in in the morning, and even take that day off at the weekend you’ve always wanted. All of this being said, you must keep to a routine and make sure to adhere to all the necessary safety precautions, especially if you work with heavy machinery - no one wants to be picking your fingers up off the floor.
No matter what industry you work in, we have provided some tips on how to stay safe at home using workplace safety standards.
Conducting a Risk Assessment
Just like companies have to, you will need to conduct a risk assessment to identify the risks and put in place safety measures to ensure your workplace is safe. If you work in a garage or basement but have to pass through the house to use the kitchen and bathroom, consider including these in your risk assessment. Below is a list of questions to ask yourself:
- Does the room have enough space to safely carry out the work?
- Is everything needed to complete the work within an easy reaching distance?
- Is there sufficient lighting?
- Can you get to escape routes without obstructions?
- Is there anything blocking the floor?
- Will you be comfortable sitting/standing for hours?
These are some of the questions to include in your risk assessment - you can find more information on carrying out a home risk assessment here.
Fit for Purpose Equipment
You need to treat all machines with respect and work sensibly. If you work for a large company, they will be responsible for supplying you with all of the essential equipment and maintaining it. However, if you work for yourself, you will need to do these tasks yourself. Even though it’s not a legal requirement in every country, the best way to make sure that your equipment is working correctly is through a PAT test. To get your equipment tested, simply contact your local electrician and ask them for portable appliance testing.
Although not as dangerous as misusing power tools, if you work at home from a computer for long periods you need to ensure that your desk, chair, and computer are set up to give your body the best support possible. You can purchase ergonomic equipment – such as ergonomic chairs and ergonomic keyboards - that will make sitting down all day at a desk a whole lot more comfortable. You should also ensure that your screen is at the correct height so that you’re not straining your body as you work.
The Correct Work Attire
If you do work at a computer all day, you’re already winning because you can wear whatever you want. Just be mindful about taking part in zoom calls and consider having a “zoom shirt” to hand.
For those of you working with dangerous machinery, you need to make sure that you wear the correct PPE – this includes a face mask, eye equipment, gloves, and protective clothing. If you worked for a business, it would be a requirement, so working from home should be no different.
Setting up your home to complete your work tasks will take a lot of work, and there are things not covered in this article, like accommodating customers. However, once all of the work is done you will get to enjoy the satisfaction of working from home. The next time your mates are complaining about their commute to work to you, they’ll be met with a great smile.