Health & Safety in the workplace
We are into our 9th Month of Covid 19 and find ourselves working remotely / working from home more, and I am sure you may agree that this is a balancing act of another level. What is fascinating is how aware we are when we are at home of keeping our surroundings in order and safe. We are juggling multiple tasks such as watching the children and amusing them while trying to work, or remembering to take proper breaks, keeping up with all the housework (which tends to be getting bigger than usual the more we stay at home) and remembering to eat and shower and dress in normal clothes and not our lounge wear on top of getting the equivalent of an 8 hour work day in. Our days may appear longer or shorter working from home but we still need to carry our Risk Assessments.
Setting up a work space
Setting up a work space can have its challenges such as finding a quiet space, ensuring the WIFI is strong and that you have a nice table and comfortable chair to work. You want to ensure your zoom calls don’t freeze or the children or family pets don’t come in on an important meeting! I’m sure this has happened to the majority of us working from home. For some of us, we tend to work where there is light and easy access to the kettle. The kitchen it is! You set this up and it looks great and is working well until you start to look around while you are trying to figure a solution to a work-related matter and you spot issues. That wire is hanging a little bit too low there, what if the children start messing at it? I don’t fancy a trip to the children’s hospital today, I’ve loads of work on. You stand up and you think, ooh I was sitting for way too long, and I need to stretch and feel that niggle in the body. Your sitting at the table with a sandwich and a cup of tea and you accidentally spill it on your notes and have to start at the beginning again. Before you know it, you are calling electricians in which we are charged for before they step foot into our home, re-arranging your workspace as the kitchen is now not appropriate for work but it is for eating and lunch times & buying new ergonomic appropriate chairs. There is a huge financial strain here, just to work from home but it has to be done.
What we are unconsciously doing is risk assessments on health & Safety in the workplace! Which at present is our own home. The realisation that “actually having the right chair & sitting upright is a health & safety matter” making sure I don’t suffer with back issues. Ensuring there are no slip, trip and falls issues reduces the fear of an unsafe environment. Knowing Occupational first aid is important in case you are faced with an electrical burn or electrical shock from loose wires and overloaded sockets to give the right treatment as a first aider. This is all Health & safety in the workplace. We should never take chances or leave these work-related matters on “the long finger”! I have now found a new appreciation for health & safety in the work place and realise not only the cost but the implications on both implementing safe measures and the repercussions of ignoring them. This can be minor or fatal! From assessing the work station, to knowing first aid to the importance of eating so we do not feel fatigue, all supports maintaining good health & safety procedures in the workplace whether it be at home or in the office. This is important whether your working space is your kitchen or the office itself. Do not under estimate the importance of health & Safety in the work place. If you are not sure how to do this, get some training and up skill. Follow the 4 R’s.
Risk Assess Retrain if necessary
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