Feeling stuck at home these days? If you’re like most Albertans, you are feeling a little cooped up, which leads to… home projects! Although we may be nearing the end of another lockdown, the urge to purge, rearrange, clean and organize might be prevalent in your home. You may not be able to go back to your place of work, but you can take the essentials of workplace safety and incorporate positive work habits into your daily activities.
Over the past 10 months you have probably read or heard a lot about proper office ergonomics. And if you’ve been back and forth from a job site to home, you probably need to refresh and readjust.
- Place your feet on the ground and have your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Make sure your elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle when typing on the keyboard.
- Place your monitor at eye line height, and have it an arm-length away.
Make sure you have enough light to properly reduce eye-strain – a pair of blue-light glasses can also help with this issue. It is always beneficial to take a walk around your home office (and house) to make sure all wires are tucked away, and that device cords are intact and not plugged in to overloaded power bars or outlets.
Take stretching or walking breaks every 30 minutes, and keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. Don’t forget to eat, and log off when it’s time to call it a day. Working from home doesn’t mean a 24-hour shift.
Cleaning and Tidying
The pandemic has made many of us a little more aware of clutter and the positive effect that organizing can have on your physical and mental health.
If you’re rearranging furniture, or putting your holiday ornaments and tree away, enlist another family member or cohort to help you move things. If you have stairs to navigate, make sure you have clear sight of the stairs and there is nothing to trip on.
While washing the floors and vacuuming or sweeping, you may want to try switching hands to avoid a repetitive strain injury on one side of your body. And, if you’re putting things away, or taking them down off high shelves, make sure you are using a properly placed step ladder or step and that you have someone to hold it steady and/or hand items to you.
If you’re really motivated, maybe you have taken on painting a drab room. When you are preparing, and moving or rearranging furniture, make sure you and your cohort or family member follow proper lifting guidelines to avoid injury. If you are using a ladder, maintaining three points of contact is the safe west way to climb, as well as following that 1:4 angle rule for placement. Always check your ladder for damage before you start working.
For those of you who enjoy cooking to break the monotony, your home kitchen has hazards that, if not corrected, can result in a trip to the hospital. Now might be a good time to brush up on the safest way to put out a grease fire, and make sure your fire extinguishers are in working order. (Even the best cooks start a fire every now and again!) If you spill liquid on the floor, wipe it up before you go any further to avoid slipping. And make sure you are careful around hot burners or oven racks as they can cause a nasty burn instantly. Long sleeves and a good pair of oven mitts are a great way to help prevent these types of injuries.
If you’re going to build that shelf you’ve been thinking about for years, please follow on-site construction guidelines:
- Check power tools for damage before use.
- Wear the proper PPE: work gloves, safety glasses, and ventilation mask (if necessary)
- Work in a well-lit, well-ventilated area
- Keep your workstation tidy, and ensure there are no wires or debris scattered on the floor where you are working
- Use the safety features on saws and other power tools
- Keep the kids away from the project and make sure, if they are helping you, they have age-appropriate duties.
And since you may be stuck at home for a while yet, why not check your carbon monoxide detector and your fire alarms, to ensure their protection of you, your fur-babies, and/or your family. It’s also an optimal time to go through a fire drill and adjust your evacuation plan, if necessary.
Stay safe while you’re working at home!