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Safety In The Home Workplace

Aug 17, 2007
Safety is one aspect of home you really can't ignore until it's too late. Business offices go to all sorts of lengths to avoid any injury or harm to their workers (they dont want to get sued, after all). Meanwhile, you might not even know that its possible to injure yourself with nothing more than office equipment. Set up now to avoid problems in your future.

1. Your Chair

The chances are that youre going to be sitting on your chair for quite a long time each day. If you have a bad chair, or you havent adjusted it properly, you could give yourself a back injury - and theyre painful, not to mention expensive to treat.

When youre choosing your chair, make sure you sit on it for a while in the shop, giving yourself a chance to get used to the way it feels, and be prepared to walk away if it starts to get uncomfortable quickly. Dont pay a ridiculous amount, but dont get the cheapest and worst thing in the shop, either.

2. Your Mouse And Keyboard

If youre using a computer mouse a lot for your work or doing a lot of typing, you can give yourself some pretty nasty injuries. This is because doing the same thing over and over again can give you a repetitive strain injury (RSI), such as carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis. This is one of the most common problems amongst office workers, home workers included.

You might have an RSI if you notice pain, weakness and fatigue in your muscles. One of the most common symptoms is pain when youre lying in bed. People tend to think that they must just be sleeping in an awkward position, or that they need a better bed or pillow, not realising that their office equipment is to blame. If you think you might be an RSI sufferer, go and see your doctor. Massages tend to be the most effective treatment, when given by a trained therapist.

To protect yourself against RSI, there are a number of things you can do. You should take regular breaks from using your computer, and stop immediately if you start to feel any kind of pain. You may also wish to invest in an ergonomic keyboard and mouse, that are laid out differently to normal keyboards and mice in an effort to make them more comfortable and less dangerous to use.

3. Clean And Tidy

Mess can be a really big problem. Your home office might become cluttered with wires, open drawers, and various objects all over the floor. Its quite possible to trip and fall over all of these things, and if you walk around enough in a confined space then eventually you will. Do as much as you can to keep your home office uncluttered: always close drawers, keep wires in one corner of the room and dont put anything on the floor.

4. Strangers in Your Home

An aspect of safety that many people dont think of is the fact that you could be letting strangers into their home when you agree to meet clients there, and this can be risky for you and your family. You might be especially worried if there will be children at home with you while youre working.

The simple answer, of course, is to always meet new customers in a public place, until you know and trust them. Coffee places are good for this. As a bonus, you will inevitably look more professional if they dont realise that youre a home business, and having a coffee each gives you something to do during any lulls in conversation other than just sitting there and looking awkward.

5. First Aid Kits

That's right, have a first aid kit on you and around you! You really shouldnt be doing anything physical as a business unless youve taken a first aid course - theyre quick, easy and inexpensive, so theres no excuse. Think of the investment your life is, a small price to pay.
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