By Todd Hines
Vice President, Loss Control & Risk Management Services
CopperPoint Insurance Companies
Telecommuting? Think safety, first
Today, unprecedented numbers of employees are temporarily telecommuting due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. For many, this means adjusting to working remotely for the first time. It can be tempting for employees to relax the rules while in the comfort of their own homes, but it’s important to work safely no matter where we do it.
Here are some tips on how to ensure you and your employees are following safety best practices while telecommuting.
Create a safe working environment
When employees set up their at-home work environment, it’s important they consider these basic safety questions from Safety and Health Magazine:
- Are phone lines and electrical cords secured out of the way and away
from heat sources?
- Is the electrical system adequate for office equipment?
- Are electrical plugs, cords, outlets and panels in good condition with
no exposed or damaged wiring?
- Are the floors free of tripping hazards, such as toys and uneven rugs?
- Are the temperature, ventilation and lighting adequate?
- Are first aid supplies readily available?
- Do you have an exit plan in place in the event of a fire?
- Is there a charged fire extinguisher available?
- Are walkways/doorways unobstructed?
- Are heavy items stored closer to, or on, the floor?
DIY workstation ergonomics
At the office, we may take ergonomics for granted. After all, our workspaces are often designed with our wellbeing and productivity in mind, and we may never even have to think about it. At home, though, we are likely on our own.
However, it’s important that we consider ergonomics when working remotely to help prevent injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and lower back injuries, to name a few. The following tips can help anyone ensure their workspace is ergonomically correct and ready to go:
- Use a sturdy, adjustable chair with a backrest, and adjust it so your forearms are close to parallel with the floor while typing
- Make sure your feet reach the floor or are supported by a footrest
- Place your monitor 20-24 inches from your eyes with the top of the screen slightly below eye level
- Make sure your computer screen is free from noticeable glare
- Ensure you have adequate lighting at your workstation to avoid eye strain
- Get up and move every hour and stretch your hands, forearms, shoulders, and back
- Focus your eyes on something 20-30 feet away every hour to relax your eye muscles
You can learn more about ergonomic workspaces from OSHA.
Protect yourself from illness
It’s also important that you and your employees protect your health while working from home. Be sure to follow CDC guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses, whether you’re working on site or telecommuting:
- Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Don’t touch your face, including eyes, nose and mouth.
- Practice social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet between yourself and others.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes, and toss used tissues immediately.
- Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces, including cell phone, desks, computer keyboards, doorknobs, light switches, steering wheels and more.
- Stay home if you’re sick with flu-like symptoms so you don’t infect others.
Together, we can ensure we maintain the highest safety standards — no matter where we work — during this challenging time.
Founded in 1925, CopperPoint Insurance Companies is a western-based super regional commercial insurance company and a leading provider of workers’ compensation and commercial insurance solutions. CopperPoint Insurance Companies include CopperPoint, Alaska National and PacificComp. All companies are rated A (Excellent) by AM Best.
To learn more about our insurance products and find resources to better manage your risks, explore our website or contact your independent insurance agent or broker.