Safety When Working From Home FAQs
The purpose of these FAQs is to provide information and guidance on safety when working from home and should be read in conjunction with the Hazard Management and Report a safety issue or incident chapters of the HSW Handbook.
What types of work am I allowed to undertake from home?
The types of work normally undertaken from home include computer based, phone based or paper based activities. The University does not permit staff or students to undertake the types of work that would normally be undertaken in a laboratory, clinic, animal facility or workshop to be undertaken from home. If you need any further clarification please contact your local HSW Team.
What are my responsibilities when I am working from home?
When you are working from home you should ensure that the location you choose to work in conducive to good ergonomics and free from any other safety hazards such as tripping or electrical hazards. You should report any safety issues or concerns that arise when you are working from home; this should include any muscular aches and pains from computer work.
Where can I get more information on setting up my working space ergonomically?
A good place to start are the ergonomic guidelines and this home ergonomics video clip.
You may also find that this computer workstation ergonomic self-assessment is useful.
How often should I take breaks?
It is important to understand that we are all different and so it will depend a bit on how you are feeling – some days you might need breaks more often than others. Often it is best to take regular short breaks that might be as simple as a few minutes to top up your cup of tea or you could engage in a short stretching session.
You could schedule activities throughout the day and use your calendar or other reminders to get up and move.
If you have a number of zoom meetings consider standing for some meetings. If you are self-conscious about this perhaps turn off the video if in a meeting where that is appropriate. When you get phone calls at home consider taking the phone call standing or walking around the room. If you can you might even take the phone call whilst walking around your home or in the garden to get some fresh air and sunshine. Try and ensure that you take an appropriate lunch break and get in some exercise.
What do I do if I don’t have the appropriate furniture or equipment to safely work from home?
If you don’t think that you have the right furniture or equipment to safely work from home please discuss this with your supervisor.
What sort of things should I report as safety issues?
The University encourages you to report any safety issues you encounter when working from home. This could be anything from an ache or pain (stiff neck, sore wrists, shoulders or back) through to electrical issues or if you are injured when completing a work activity.
It is very easy to report a safety issue; requiring you to just answer a handful of questions. If you have already fixed the issue you can record this on your report. When you report a safety issue someone will contact you to discuss the issue so that we can resolve it if it has not already been resolved. If you have been injured then a member of the central HSW Team will contact you to ensure that appropriate assistance, information and support are provided.
Where do I obtain further advice around safety and working from home?
Please contact your local HSW team.