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Is a home office a workplace hazard?

Tips for telecommuting safely

posted March 13, 2017

For many Oregon businesses, telecommuting employees are becoming more and more common. But what if a worker has an accident while working at home? Are they covered by workers' comp? Often, the answer is yes.

With Organize Your Home Office Day coming up on March 14, consider reminding your telecommuting employees how an organized home workspace can reduce their risk of injuries. Here are some tips:

  • Choose a fully adjustable chair. Your feet should be flat on the floor with your upper legs horizontal to the floor. Make sure your chair supports the curve of your lower back, and use a lumbar support or pillow if needed.
  • Adjust your monitor. The screen should be at about arm's length away, with the top third at eye level. Try using books or reams of paper to bring your monitor to the best viewing height. (Watch this video for more inexpensive ideas for setting up your home office.) 
  • If you use a laptop as your primary work computer, consider adding a separate monitor, keyboard, and mouse.
  • Provide adequate lighting. Warm ambient lighting is good for computer work; cool task lighting is ideal for reading and writing on paper. 
  • Get up and move. You may lose track of time and sit for too long, so schedule breaks to walk, stretch, and spend time away from your computer screen. 
  • Clear the clutter. Make sure your workspace is free of tripping hazards. Secure cords and remove any obstacles from walkways.

To learn more about how to work comfortably and safely—at the office or at home—check out saif.com/ergo.

About SAIF

SAIF is Oregon's not-for-profit workers' compensation insurance company. For more than 100 years, we've been taking care of injured workers, helping people get back to work, and striving to make Oregon the safest and healthiest place to work.