Many people will still be working from home. This may continue to present new risks that businesses will need to manage.
Working from home
We expect businesses to keep following advice from the government. For example:
- working from home in general(external link)
- a useful webinar (PDF) (external link)- Health and Safety Association NZ
- workstations, work environment, privacy and security (PDF)(external link) - Government Health and Safety lead
- ergonomics and posture - WorkSafe
- stretching (PDF)(external link) - ACC
- setting up a temporary workstation(external link) - Health and Safety Executive UK
We acknowledge that it might not be possible to provide ideal working from home arrangements. For example, some office furniture may be able to be delivered, but this will depend on supply chains in other countries. Businesses may be able to redistribute existing office equipment to workers’ homes, but we expect delivery methods to meet physical distancing requirements.
We expect businesses to continue to look after their people, take a realistic approach, and act in good faith at all times. Ideas to help people working from home include:
- Encourage people to get up and move around during the day
- Suggest propping their laptop on a high bench from time to time as a standing desk
- Remind people to get out in the fresh air at least once a day for some local exercise
- Reassure people that no-one’s work is going to be judged by the same metrics as in normal times
- Acknowledge that working from home with children or other distractions is never going to be as productive, and that family comes first.
Gas and electricity safety
As more people will be spending more time at home it is important everyone remembers these messages:
- If in doubt about a gas or electrical appliance or heater, or you smell gas or anything else unusual, switch the appliance off and get it checked by a competent person.
- If you are using any gas appliance, remember it needs an air supply to work safely and effectively.
- Don’t block up ventilators and other sources of take-up air as this could be fatal. If in doubt, check with a professional.
As many people will continue to have makeshift offices at home it’s important that you don’t overload your power boards, including multi-plugs and multi-boxes.
- Power boards are only designed for lower current devices and, if overloaded, can overheat and become a fire risk. This means: you should only plug in low current devices like your computer, computer screens, printers or audio-visual devices like stereos or TV.
- Don’t plug heaters, kettles, washing machines, or stoves into power boards. These higher current demanding devices need to be plugged into a separate electrical socket.
Where do I find guidance for my industry?
Some industries have developed detailed guidance on a safe return to work under Alert Levels two and three. Guidance written for a particular COVID-19 Alert Level should clearly state this level.
While WorkSafe endorsed guidance for Alert Level 3, we are not endorsing guidance for Alert Level 2.