Safety Tips Ergonomics Office safety

Working from home?

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With shelter-in-place orders in effect throughout much of the United States because of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people are working remotely. This presents unique challenges and safety concerns.

Keep ergonomics in mind

Whether you’re working in a dedicated home office or at your kitchen table, good ergonomics is necessary to maintain good overall health and help prevent back, shoulder and neck pain. To set up your home workstation, follow these tips from Mayo Clinic:

  • Adjust your chair so your feet rest on the floor and your knees are level with your hips. If your chair doesn’t offer proper lumbar support, put a cushion or pillow between the curve of your back and the back of your chair.
  • Keep everything you’ll need for the day, including your phone and documents, close to your body to avoid unnecessary stretching.
  • Keep your wrist in a straight position – not bent up or down – when typing.
  • Use a phone headset if you have one. This will prevent you from cradling the phone between your neck and shoulder.
  • Keep your screen about an arm’s length in front of you.
  • Be mindful of lighting. Avoid glare by keeping bright light sources to the side of your screen.

Check it twice

The Office of Personnel Management points out that remote workers are responsible for maintaining a safe home office. The agency offers a safety checklist:

  • Do you have a working smoke detector nearby?
  • Do you have fire extinguishers at home, and do you know how to use them?
  • Do you have an evacuation plan in place in the event of a fire?
  • Is your floor clear of hazards?
  • Are carpets well secured to the floor and free of frayed or worn seams?

To view the full checklist, visit telework.gov/federal-community/telework-employees/safety-checklist/.

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