Setup

How to Carry Out a Home Working Risk Assessment

Find out the steps involved in creating a Health and Safety Risk Assessment to ensure that your employees can work from home safely and responsibly.

Having staff working from home is a highly effective and flexible arrangement that can bring exceptional results. Whilst hosted desktops make the transition to home working very smooth and simple, companies need to ensure that staff are given everything they need to work safely as well.

It’s easy to think of the home as being a completely harmless environment, yet accidents and risks can be just as prevalent if the individual isn’t prepared for the switch. Below are the steps involved in creating a Health and Safety Risk Assessment to ensure that your employees can work from home safely and responsibly.

Lone working at home

Some of your staff may have partners who are also working from home, whereas others could be working solitarily.

For those who live alone, you must ensure that they can contact a supervisor easily in the event of a situation or emergency.

It’s also the responsibility of a line manager or business owner to keep in regular contact with lone workers, whether it’s through instant message, email, phone call or another method, with the best arrangement being regular video calls.

This prevents the lone worker from feeling isolated and abandoned, plus this regular contact should include confirmation that they feel healthy and safe in their home working environment.

Screen safety

Due to meetings being hosted virtually, home workers need to use screens even more than when they’re in the office.

This can lead to multiple problems, ranging from aches and pains to eye strain, headaches, dizziness, nausea and other symptoms.

One of the most effective ways to prevent tired eyes and headaches is to follow the 20-20-20 rule.

This involves taking a break of at least 20 seconds every 20 minutes and looking at something at least 20 feet away.

If your home office isn’t big enough, look out of a window instead.

By giving your eyes a rest and also shifting their focus from the screen to a faraway object, you allow them to stay strong and healthy.

Ergonomics for home workers

Incorporating ergonomic design into a home working arrangement can actually be very simple.

Make sure to send all of your staff the guidelines below and you’ll find that they remain comfortable whilst carrying out their daily tasks.

  • Your desk (or table if necessary) should have enough space underneath for you to sit or stand close to your computer or laptop.
  • If using a laptop, we highly recommend a separate keyboard and mouse, as this allows you to position them more comfortably.
  • The top of your screen should be level with your eye height. This shouldn’t be a problem with a PC or Mac but a laptop will require a sturdy base to position it correctly.
  • An adjustable chair will help you to adopt a comfortable sitting position. Pay special attention to supporting your back and bum, as a hard seat can lead to spinal pain. Memory foam seat cushions designed to support the coccyx and mesh lumbar back supports are quite affordable and make a huge difference.
  • Good posture is crucial, so make sure that the small of your back is supported, your shoulders are relaxed (neither slumped nor elevated), and there isn’t any pressure on the back of your knees caused by the chair being too low.
  • Your body, head and eyes should be facing forward whilst working. Craning your neck, twisting your spine, angling your arms and general leaning and slouching will quickly lead to stiffness and twinges.
  • As well as the 20-20-20 rule, it’s also essential that you take microbreaks away from your desk. Stretch your limbs as much as possible and carefully move your head around to prevent cricks and aches. Take this as an opportunity to grab a glass of water, as staying hydrated is very important too.

Invest in health and safety kits

We’ve come across a few companies that have gone above and beyond by sending health, safety and wellbeing packages to their home workers.

These contain useful items such as a first aid kid, vitamin tablets, hand sanitiser and even fire safety equipment.

What you include in the package is entirely up to you, as you could just send employees the basics or go to the next level and include a fire blanket and fire extinguisher.

Items like these are the type that you never want to have to use, yet you’re very glad you own if the need arises.

If your budget can stretch to this kind of health, safety and wellbeing package, we guarantee your staff will greatly appreciate it.

If not, a branded water bottle and some cooling eye gel will show that you care about their wellbeing.

Switch to hosted desktops

Hosted desktops from GoCloud make home working a smooth and stress-free experience. Get in touch on 01482 751133 or email hello@gocloud.co.uk.

Get the checklist

Download your free home working setup checklist to get you and your team ready to work remotely.

Setup Checklist

Free Download: The Complete Home Working Setup Checklist

Download your free home working setup checklist to get you and your team ready to work remotely.

This checklist will help you:

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Adapt to remote working
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Design the perfect home office
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Avoid common health and safety pitfalls
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