The Ergonomic Journey - ErgoFit Consulting's Blog

work from home 

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.


Deborah

Deborah Read MOTR/L

ErgoFit Consulting, Inc.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

 

Karen W2 2

Karen Wollgast CPDM, CPT

ErgoFit Consulting, Inc.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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.

work from home

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:

  • Have written ergonomics policy & protocols for remote office work, including an employee agreement that includes ergonomics.
  • No matter where an employee works, they need to be trained on how to work in a safe manner and that is what is expected of them.
  • Provide as many resources for remote staff as possible to ensure solid ergonomics practices are being followed. This could include providing (or reimbursing for) equipment, providing checklists and illustrations on proper workstation set up and instructions on using equipment and resources for evaluating their workstations.
  • Ensure employees know how to report any early symptoms or discomforts they may be experiencing (such as an accident report, phone line, or email) and have a mechanism that triggers a response to the employee when a report is received. Employers should encourage early reporting to minimize severity.
 

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!  

 

Return to ErgoFit's Blog



Like us on            Follow Us on Logo-2C-115px-R             Tweet us Twitter logo blue  @ErgoFit_Consult

© ErgoFit Consulting, Inc. and ErgoFitConsulting.com, 2001-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s owner and/or author(s) is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author(s) and ErgoFit Consulting, Inc / ErgoFitConsulting.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

DMCA.com Protection Status

 

DMCA.com Protection Status

 

© ErgoFit® Consulting, Inc. and ErgoFitConsulting.com, 2001-2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s owner and/or author(s) is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author(s) and ErgoFit® Consulting, Inc / ErgoFitConsulting.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.