Working from home – Tips Mon 30Mar20

COVID-19 is rapidly changing the way we live and work every day with telecommuting (working from home), becoming the new reality for many of us.

Home based offices are considered a workplace under work health and safety laws so it’s important for workers and employers to work together to identify and minimise work health and safety risks at home. Have a look at Resource 1. Safe Work Australia/COVID-19/working-home for specific guidance. The guidance is similar however, different States and Territories have their own branding.

The two (2) main considerations are ergonomic and electrical (inspect the cord for any damage – if damaged report it). The Resource 2. Telecommuting checklist is a good start to assess you home workspace.


Health and safety issues to consider when setting up a home office, include:

  • whether working from a different location will introduce additional risks, such as risks associated with hazardous manual handling,
  • the suitability of work activities,
  • the suitability of the workstation set up,
  • the environment, for example lighting and noise,
  • communication requirements,
  • mental and emotional wellbeing, and
  • any training in safe working procedures that may be required.

This Resource 3. Ergonomic guide to computer-based workstations is a good resource.

Remember – to take breaks and have a stretch (you can do at the desk)

Whether you work indoors or outdoors, remaining still for too long can lead to pain and injury.

Stretching is a good way to improve your flexibility and muscle soreness. Concentrate on slow, sustained stretches and hold each stretch for 10 to 20 seconds.

Resource 4. Here are six simple stretches.

Electrical equipment

You must consider the following to ensure your safety at home when using electrical equipment:

  • Check to see if you have a safety switch installed and that it is operational by pressing the test button before you initially start work from home and every three months thereafter,
  • Carry out a visual inspection of all electrical equipment in your home office.
    • Check for cuts, nicks or exposed conductors on any cords.
    • Check equipment for visible damage (broken covers, overheating discolouration).
    • Either discard any damaged equipment or have it repaired by an appropriately licensed electrical worker. Do not attempt to repair faulty equipment yourself.
  • Ensure leads and power boards are placed where they will not get damaged by moving furniture, chairs, foot traffic or other activities.
  • To avoid overheating and fire risks, don’t place papers or other items against air vents of equipment or cover equipment such as power boards or power supplies.
  • Don’t cover or stack up equipment under charge (e.g. phones to laptops).
  • Don’t permit children to touch or play with electrical cords and make sure electrical cords are not dangling from benches or within your child’s reach.
  • Ensure power boards and outlets are not overloaded (e.g. don’t plug in several room heaters into one power board) and are not placed where they may be splashed with liquids.


implications – there may be deductions you can make, have a look at Resource 6 and Resource 7 for specific guidance and speak to you accountant.

Family Violence Support – these resources are available.

There has been a reported increase in family and domestic violence.

Family Violence Resources (not COVID-19 specific);










1. Safe Work Australia/COVID-19-information-workplaces/working-home

2. Telecommuting workplace health and safety checklist

3. Qld Guide Ergonomic and Workstations

4. NSW Six simple stretches

5. Qld Electrical Safety Office – safety switches

6. ATO/Working-from-home

7. ATO /Home-office-expenses

By Sean Bourke

As the leader of Design Safety Solutions, I am an experienced WHS Manager with a Master of Management from MGSM and practical knowledge of safety management systems, coaching, change management, leadership, training and development, self-insurance compliance, workers compensation management and auditing across numerous industries, including Construction, Retail, Mining, Heavy engineering (foundry) and Manufacturing. I am a Charted Professional Member and Registered Safety Professional in Australia through the Safety Institute of Australia. I can make a positive difference utilising my knowledge and skills in: • Construction • Safety Management Systems • Contractor Management • Coaching • Change Management • Team Leadership • Training Delivery • Risk Management • Continuous Improvement I look forward to discussing opportunities and can be contacted on: ✉ ✆ 0404 829 585

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