Safety Inspection for Working at Home
To work at home, you must assess the safety of your home and sometimes your vehicle.
It is best practice to confirm that the home environment is safe rather than to assume that it is.
To prepare a Telework Agreement (DOCX, 95KB), your supervisor and you must discuss the concerns and risks listed below and ensure that you take the necessary steps to reduce or remove these risks. Until your home and, if applicable, your vehicle are safe, you will not be able to use your home as a work location.
Eliminating hazards and ensuring safety are the employee’s responsibility.
Home office facilities must be adequate. A dedicated workspace should have furnishings appropriate to the nature of the work. You must have a suitable, ergonomically adjustable chair that allows for neutral postures. Kitchen tables and coffee tables are not options. A laptop alone is not enough; have a separate keyboard or monitor connected to the laptop to arrange for proper monitor height and keyboard position.
- Review the five minute online e-learning guide, Preventing Strain Injuries at Your Computer Workstation
- Complete the online e-tool, Workstation Self-evaluation and Setup
- Once the online setup e-tool is complete, you and your supervisor need to discuss the results, outstanding concerns and take the recommended actions, such as adjusting chair height
Contact AskMyHR to request an ergonomic assessment for your home workstation.
Working Alone Call-in Procedures
When supervisors don’t work in the same place as their employees, they must ensure that their employees are at work and all is well.
Working alone call-in procedures must be established by the supervisor or manager. If you are working from home and your manager has not set something up, initiate that conversation.
- Does the workstation have grounded, electrical outlets? Older homes may not have three-prong grounded outlets, which could be an electrical hazard particularly during lightning storms
- Are power cords in good condition, or are they broken or scorched?
- Are power bar surge protectors plugged in to the wall socket?
Tripping & Falling
- Walking too quickly with arms full could result in injury
- Make sure that visibility is good. Lighting should allow you to see hazards. Correct dim lighting
- Remove tripping or falling hazards. Beware of obstructions in hallways, loose carpets, tiles or uneven floor surfaces and slippery or icy surfaces
- Are there hazards such as asbestos, tobacco smoke or a gas leak in the workspace? Is there mold or excess dust?
- Is there adequate lighting to complete the work?
- Is there excessive noise or other distractions?
Potential of Violence
- Do you live in an area at risk for violence, robbery or home invasion?
- Have violent incidents, robberies or vandalism occurred in the neighborhood?
- How is the lighting? Is there risk of attack by persons or animals?
- Do you have procedures in place to deal with any risk of violence identified above?
- Do you have emergency contacts and reporting structures in place to respond to incidents of violence?
Does the vehicle you are using for work meet safety requirements under the Motor Vehicle Act? Are tires, lights, brakes and steering all in good condition? Has the vehicle been inspected?
- If your vehicle is used as part of work duties, your supervisor will define restrictions and the activities the vehicle can be used for
- If driving long distances, stop, get out of the vehicle and walk around and stretch at least once per hour
- When travelling alone outside of metropolitan areas, establish and use check-in procedures
- Have an emergency roadside and first aid kit in the car in case of emergency
Other Safety Hazards
Other hazards unique to the telework location and type of work that need to be considered daily are
- Biological hazards: mold, viruses, blood-borne pathogens and any other bodily fluids
- Chemical hazards: toxic and dangerous chemical exposure that may be associated with your telework workplace (for example, off-gassing of a new carpet or paint)
- Workplace stressors: workload, distractions, competing priorities and life that can affect your ability to work. If workplace stress is exacerbated by working from home, teleworking may not be a good option