For those of you fortunate enough to be allowed to work from home at Xmas you will find the following advice useful (an extract from H & S guidance promulgated to all staff today). I particularly commend the 'working alone', 'home fire evacuation points' and 'using candles' advice. Now if you're all sitting comfortably (carry out immediate risk assessment) I shall begin: BASIC HEALTH AND SAFETY PRECAUTIONS FOR TEMPORARY HOMEWORKING The nature of the home working arrangement is of a limited and temporary duration therefore the likelihood of risk is assessed as extremely low and it is highly unlikely that anyone will suffer an injury or ill health as a result of the type of work being undertaken. However, there are a number of simple precautions which you should observe and based upon the general types of controls found in the daily office work space. By carrying out the simple self-assessment below you can ensure that all the main basic safety precautions are in place. If you feel that you require any further help or assistance with the assessment then contact your line manager. HOME WORKING SELF ASSESSMENT Electrical Equipment: The XXX is only responsible for checking the safety of equipment that they provide for use at home such as lap-top computers. The XXX will ensure that all equipment provided is safe for use and PAT tested prior to issue. If you are using your own computer equipment then basic self checks should include: o Ensure that power supply is disconnected before carrying out basic equipment checks. o Check that the plugs are not cracked or damaged. o Check that the outer covering of the power cable is gripped where it enters the plug or the equipment. o Check that the outer cover of the equipment is not damaged. o Check leads, wires or cables for damage to the outer covering. o Check for burn marks or staining that suggests overheating. o If in doubt do not use equipment which you suspect is damaged or faulty. Either replace it or get your equipment repaired by an authorised dealer. o Remember, water and electrics do not mix! Using VDUs: o Make sure that the screen is clear and readable, and without flicker. o Make sure that the screen is free from glare and reflections. o Adjust the brightness and contrast to a suitable level to avoid eyestrain. o Make sure that you have suitable lighting so that you can read documents and read the fine detail on the screen. Avoid glare from windows and direct sunlight. o Make sure that the keyboard is placed in the correct position o Make sure that the mouse is in the correct position o Make sure that the chair is adjusted to the right height so that work can be done comfortably o Make sure that you have suitable lighting and consider using task lighting if necessary o Make sure that the screen and computer is clean and free from dust and dirt. o Make sure that there is sufficient space under the desk to allow free movement. o Remember to take regular planned breaks and mini breaks so that you can stretch your limbs. o Read the HSE guidance on Working with VDUs Ref INDG 36. Access and Egress: o Make sure that all trailing cables are securely tucked away to avoid creating tripping hazards. o Make sure that you have safe access to your work area and clear access out of the house in an emergency. For example, if working upstairs then make sure that your staircase is clear and free of obstacles and tripping hazards. This is essential in the event of a fire and you need to vacate your home quickly and as safely as possible. Fire Safety: o It is strongly recommended that you have smoke detectors fitted as a first line of warning. o It is always good practice to arrange a safe evacuation meeting point outside of your home for you and your family in event of a fire. Many needless deaths have occurred when family members have re-entered a burning house to rescue a family member who they have assumed is trapped inside when in reality they have already escaped to a place of safety. o Avoid or minimise the use of electrical adapters â overloaded sockets can lead to fire hazards. o Avoid cooking meals while you are working. Ensure that you provide sufficient separate time for preparing meals and remember to turn off the heating supply when completed. o Remember to turn off and unplug all electrical equipment at the end of use. o Do not use naked flames such as candles while you are working. Lone Working: o If you will be working from home alone make sure that you have let someone know that you are at home and not in your usual workplace. Keep an emergency contact number handy.