Office is Closed,
Staff Working From Home. . . Now What?
Remote work is not a new thing. Many organizations – like ours -- have been allowing (even encouraging) staff to work remotely over the past decade for a number of reasons that benefit both employers and employees. Many companies have found it a valuable tool for their ability to attract and retain talent, maximize productivity, and reduce our commuting carbon footprint.
However, it can also be a recipe for occupational injuries and workers’ compensation claims, among other things, if not implemented properly.
According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), injuries and illnesses that occur while the employee is performing work for pay (or compensation) - including a home office - are work-related injuries or illnesses. Basically, if an employee is deployed to work from home and develops an injury or illness doing that work, the employer may well be on the hook for a workers’ compensation claim.
Because the global COVID-19 pandemic caused rapid deployment of employees working from home, little or no ergonomic guidance, protocols, furniture, or equipment was provided to employees for safely and ergonomically setting up their home offices.
The “temporary” poor working conditions and/or poor ergonomic set-ups that are now in the FOURTH MONTH have accumulated to the point of causing increased discomfort and pain, as well as workers compensation claims filings.
Proactive injury prevention for remote staff is very important! We have found the following to be best practices in minimizing risk of occupational injuries for remote workers:
A well implemented remote worker program illustrates how much the organization cares about the safety and well-being of their staff and sends the message that sound work practices are expected. This can have a positive effect in attracting and retaining talent and employee productivity.
Even if a company did not have much of this in place prior to the pandemic requiring office closures, it’s not too late! At ErgoFit Consulting, we have been assisting many of our clients in a variety of ways from writing policy to providing remote services. As a trusted vendor, part of what we do is stay ahead of safety and productivity issues coming down the pike so organizations can focus on business! We can consult on important safety and ergonomic related requirements in a variety of work environments and provide as much assistance in shoring up programs and policies as needed to ensure compliance and happy, healthy workers!
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