The CTEH Culture of Safety at Home
While we all adjust to the new realities of working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re still maintaining our culture of safety. Regardless of where you’re working, here are some tips to keep yourself safe and efficient.
The workplace environment
A quiet, distraction-free environment can keep you focused on your tasks. Your work area should also be well-lit, free of obstructions and tripping hazards, and electrical cords should be secured under a desk or alongside a baseboard. Doors, closets, and other opening objects shouldn’t open into walkways. Trash, clutter, and other combustible objects should be contained. If you need to climb stairs with four or more steps to get to your workspace, they should have handrails equipped.
Many of us work from a computer setup, with multiple electrical cords powering things like laptops, monitors, keyboards, and printers. In case you do have an electrical issue, your home or building should have correctly labeled circuit breakers and/or fuses. In your workspace, make sure electrical cords aren’t nailed, stapled, or run underneath carpets, and your devices are connected to a surge protector. Extension cords and power strips shouldn’t be daisy chained. If possible, equipment should be plugged directly into a wall outlet or surge protector. Turn everything off when it’s not in use.
Even in your home, falling hazards can be a concern. Check to make sure heavy items are on the lowest part of a shelf to keep them from becoming top-heavy. If you need to access a shelf that’s taller than you can reach, use a stepladder.
Desk work area
Watch out for liquids near your electronics, and make sure your chair’s wheels and joints are secure. More importantly, take care of yourself. Keep your back adequately supported, your feet on the floor or on a footrest, and the top of your screen at eye level. Avoid eye strain: make sure text is easy to read and your screen is free of glare. When typing, your forearms should be parallel to the ground, and your wrists should be fairly straight.
Fire prevention and safety items
Make sure you know where the nearest first aid supplies can be found. Keep a proper fire extinguisher somewhere in your household. If you use space heaters or other portable heat sources, keep them away from combustible materials and flammable liquids. Have an operational smoke and carbon monoxide detector. Properly store flammable materials.
If you have physical files and data that are sensitive, make sure they’re stored in a secure place, such as a locked file cabinet. Implement proper data and Internet security measures. Make sure you can contact your supervisor, and your supervisor can reach you.
For more information and a helpful checklist, download our work-from-home safety PDF.