July 18, 2019

Why businesses need a remote work safety policy

You look after your workers’ safety at the office or on job sites by conducting fire drills and buying ergonomic furniture. But have you implemented similar steps to keep telecommuters safe in their home offices? It’s a new and critical concern as more businesses embrace telecommuting.

The number of Coloradoans working from home has risen by at least 21,000 since 2010, to more than 173,000. Boulder leads the nation with almost 11 percent of its workforce telecommuting.

You can protect these employees by adopting a safety policy that outlines requirements for home offices. These plans make telecommuters more aware of their surroundings and the hazards they can face.

What should your policy cover? We recommend touching on three critical areas, including several issues outlined in our Home Office Hazards infographic.

Location - Telecommuters should have a dedicated workspace that is:

  • Lit sufficiently to avoid squinting at the computer screen
  • Devoid of clutter, which can lead to slips, trips and falls
  • Free from obstructions, such as cords or an uneven carpet, in walkways            

Workspace hazards - Check for compliance on:

  • Fire prevention: Know the exit routes, make fire extinguishers easy to access, and check smoke detectors regularly
  • Electrical safety: Use surge protectors, turn off equipment when it is not in use, and don’t plug in too many extension cords and power strips

Ample ventilation and adequate temperature: Place computers far from heat sources and monitor space heaters’ output carefully

Ergonomics - Provide telecommuters the same guidelines you give those at your office:

  • Use correct posture
  • Position your chair so your computer screen is at eye level
  • Take short breaks to prevent strain to eyes and neck

Put our checklist of telecommuting work safety tips into effect. Then ask your employee to sign your safety policy to keep everyone on the same page.

For even more information, download our library of Office Safety and Lifting and Ergonomics resources.

Questions? Contact us at safetyoncall@pinnacol.com.