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Home Workspace Safety

Maintaining a safe home office or workspace is the teleworker’s responsibility. We designed the following information to provide a safety overview for alternative workspaces. You can use the items below to develop a company-specific checklist.

Equipment

  • Employees should have internet connection, a computer, and a phone connection
  • Other optional resources could include a webcam, printer, fax machine, etc.

General

  • Workspace should accommodate workstation, equipment, and related material
  • Four or more steps should be equipped with handrails
  • Aisles, doorways, and corners should be free of obstruction
  • Cords, cables, and other items should be secured under a desk or along a wall, and away from heat sources, and should be arranged to prevent tripping hazards
  • Floor surfaces should be clean, dry, level, and carpets should be secured and free of worn or frayed seams
  • Rugs should be equipped with foam backing or used with anti-slip matting
  • Temperature, ventilation, and lighting should be adequate for maintaining normal job performance     
  • Workspace should be away from noise, distractions, and devoted to your work needs
  • Ensure file drawers are not top-heavy and arranged to not open into walkways
  • Cabinets, shelves, or furniture greater than five feet high should be secured to prevent toppling during an earthquake
  • Books and supplies should be stored to prevent falling during an earthquake
  • Ensure a functional plug-in or hardwired carbon monoxide detector with battery backup is installed
  • If the workspace is located below grade (ex: in a basement), the home should be tested for radon (see epa.gov/radon for more information).
  • Employee should have property insurance (homeowners, renters, liability, other).

Fire Safety

  • Ensure there is working smoke detector covering the designated workspace and that battery is replaced annually
  • Ensure there is a charged, accessible, dry chemical fire extinguisher in area
  • There should be more than one exit from work area
  • Workspace should be kept free of trash and clutter
  • Flammable liquids and combustibles should be kept at least three feet away from heat sources
  • Develop an evacuation plan and know what to do in the event of a fire

Electrical

  • Computer equipment should be connected to a surge protector
  • Ensure electrical system is adequate for office equipment
  • All electrical equipment should be free of recognized hazards (frayed wires, bare conductors, loose wires, flexible wires running through walls, exposed wires to the ceiling)
  • Switches, outlets, receptacles, and junction boxes should have tight-fitting covers or plates
  • Ensure extension cords and power strips are not daisy-chained and no permanent extension cord is in use
  • Electrical outlets should be grounded with three-pronged plugs     
  • Equipment should be placed close to electrical outlets
  • Ensure equipment is turned off when not in use

Computer Workstation

  • When keying, forearms should be close to parallel with the floor
  • Wrists/hands should be in neutral position and in same plane as forearm
  • Monitor should be roughly arm’s length from eyes and the viewable portion of screen slightly below eye level
  • Ensure feet reach the floor when seated or are fully supported by a footrest
  • Monitor screen should be free from noticeable glare throughout the workday
  • Text on your screen should be easy to read
  • If applicable, a document holder can be used to avoid awkward neck positions
  • Ensure there is enough legroom at your desk
  • There should be space enough to rest the arms while not keying
  • Your chair should be an adjustable chair (find out how to correctly adjust it)
  • Chairs should be sturdy, stable, and designed to not tip backwards
  • Chair casters (wheels) should be secure and the rungs and legs of the chair should be sturdy  
  • Ensure your back is adequately supported by the backrest
  • Ensure you have a clear understanding of neutral posture and how to properly adjust workstation (Click here for proper ergonomic setup and workstation adjustments and click here for more OSHA information)

Security

  • Materials and equipment should be in a secure place that can be protected from damage and misuse                    
  • Keep an inventory of all equipment in the workspace, including serial numbers      
  • If applicable, keep up-to-date anti-virus software, up-to-date virus definitions, and run regular security scans
  • Ensure equipment is not easily viewed from outside/external areas and that there is privacy for confidential phone calls

This company was issued a secure rating by the A.M. Best Company, click for additional details

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