Many people work from home these days, but whether you’re employed, freelancing or running your own business, health and safety legislation is applicable.
Sadly, many homeworkers don’t actually realise health and safety applies to them. Although most homeworkers will set up a workstation, the likelihood is many of them won’t set theirs up correctly. Incorrect posture at your desk can cause irreversible damage and untold problems for the rest of your life, so why risk it?
While we encourage each and every one of you to be aware of your working position, employers do have a responsibility to look after their staff wherever they’re working. They have to consider lone working, the equipment they provide, electrical safety, as well as workstations and display screen equipment (DSE.)
“I’ve completed so many DSE assessments in workplaces where the set up was not as it should be.” Explains Hundred Acre’s founder and director, Bridget Gilmour. “I’ve then completed the same assessments for individuals who work at home and the situation was even worse. Sadly, I’ve encountered individuals who have suffered irreversible health issues due to not working correctly with a laptop. Incorrect seating positions can cause serious health issues and long term incorrect posture can be a problem.”
The Telegraph made for interesting reading on 28th July with its article “Office Workers must Exercise for an Hour a Day to counter Death Risk”. The article explains how a recent Lancet study of over a million adults found that sitting for at least eight hours a day could increase the risk of premature death by up to 60%. That sober statistic is a stark reminder that being sedentary is not a way of life we should embrace.
Scientists are now urging anyone spending eight hours a day at their desk to change their daily routine by taking five minute breaks every hour and exercising during lunch breaks and evenings. Unsurprisingly, we back this idea wholeheartedly. Go for a walk at lunch, get up every hour to make a cup of tea or visit the printer; anything that gets you up and away from your workstation.
Although we encourage people to work from home in order to achieve a better work life balance, or just balance as Bridget prefers to call it, we wanted to highlight the risks homeworkers face and actions that can be taken to combat them. Wherever you work, we hope this blog post has helped you think twice about your work station, the breaks you need and the exercise, or lack of, you get every day.
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