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Health and safety homeworking tips

Setting up a workstation at home is equally as important as when working on site. The workstation includes:

  • Desk or table
  • Chair
  • PC or laptop

Whilst it may seem easier to simply open the laptop and start working without making any adjustments this can lead to poor posture, which can cause pain and discomfort over time. It is therefore essential to take a couple of minute to set up the workstation correctly when working at home.

To promote safety of staff working from home, the Health and Safety department and Ergonomics service have compiled the following checklists and assessments that all staff working from home must complete:

  • Homeworking self-assessment form
  • Homeworking checklist
  • Homeworking individual risk assessment
  • DSE online training via Moodle (must be completed within the last 12 months)

Quick tips when working from home

Screen

  • Make sure the screen is raised so that the top of the screen is at eye level. This can be done by using a laptop riser, a box or some books if necessary
  • Ensure the screen is roughly arm’s length away
  • Arrange the desk and screen to avoid glare or bright reflections. Adjust curtains or blinds to prevent intrusive light

Desk and chair

  • Make sure there is adequate space to move legs
  • Make sure there is enough work space to accommodate all documents or other equipment
  • Ensure that chair height is adjusted so that lower arms are at right angles with forearms lightly supported by the work surface
  • Avoid excess pressure from the edge of seats on the backs of legs and knees
  • Use a footrest if feet are not firmly on the floor

Keyboard and mouse

  • Keep wrists flat and straight
  • Position the mouse within easy reach. Do not grip the mouse, instead use a relaxed hand and take your hand away from the mouse when not in use
  • Sit upright and close to the desk to reduce working with the mouse arm stretched
  • Considering using a separate keyboard, especially if the laptop is raised. This enables the laptop screen to be positioned correctly
  • Keep wrists straight when typing

Breaks

  • Stretch and change position and consider changes in activity to move away from the computer (e.g. where possible stand up to make phone calls)
  • Look into the distance from time to time and blink often
  • Short, frequent breaks are better than longer, infrequent ones

Don't forget to book regular periods of annual leave to enable rest and recovery. If you are feeling unwell you should inform your line manager and follow the Trust's sickness procedure.

Stress and mental health

  • Working from home can increase feelings of isolation, remember to keep in regular contact with colleagues and management
  • Inform management if feelings of stress become unmanageable and complete the staff stress risk assessment, returning it to management to enable appropriate access and support to be actioned

Reporting

  • Accidents, near misses and incidents of ill health should all be reported in the usual way using the Trust’s online Datix reporting system
  • Ensure that any pain or discomfort is reported to line management as soon as it is noticed. In some instances a referral to Occupational Health or Ergonomics may be appropriate
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