With a lot of us now working from home who previously would not have I thought it might be an idea to write an article detailing some basic safety tips. Working home safety tips are especially important given we might also be homeschooling with small children, who would normally be in school, and on top of that the adults are expected to be working full time too. With that amount of pressure, as well as everything going on externally too, it’s all too easy to forget about some basic stuff which otherwise would have been spotted. Anyway here are a few tips to help.
Slips, Trips and Falls
Always be careful of slips, trips and falls as these are the number one factor for accidents in the home. With children playing and homeschooling it’s especially important to keep a look out for toys on stairs, the building block lying about or even trailing cables from study laptops or from the home office cabling. Staircases are particular points to beware so ensure that if you have smaller children that there is a working stair guard at both the top and bottom of stairs when small children are free to crawl and wander about.
Another point is spilled drinks. With children at home, continually asking for juice, or indeed helping themselves the potential for spills in halls, and on stairs increases so pay attention for them and clear them away as quickly as possible so as to avoid any potential accidents.
This is an ideal learning opportunity for smaller children to learn about safety and the importance of tidying away toys after their use. It also reduces the risk of you tripping over that toy later on!
With so many cables these days it’s important to ensure that they are all kept as straight as possible. While working from home additional cables are probably getting utilised a lot for computers, monitors, printers and everything else that is required for working from home. As well as the trip hazard that they present, it’s also important to ensure that cabling is kept straight wherever possible and not bent too much. Bending cabling, especially mains cabling increases heat production and this may lead to a fire. Ensure that old extension cables are replaced whenever they show signs of wear – usually where the cable meets the socket block and also make sure that as much power sockets are switched off when they are not in use. This will assist in reducing your power bills and reducing the risk of overheating. Ensure that you are not over using sockets too. It’s an easy fix to add another extension socket or a multi-socket adapter but this all puts additional strain on a socket which may not be rated to handle the number of devices that you have added. The cold weather increases chances due to the addition of local heaters for keeping rooms warm too so make sure you don’t overload sockets.
Ensuring that sockets are not overloaded is one preventative measure to ensure that you don’t end up with a fire, but there are other sources that could cause a fire in your house. With so much going on it’s easy enough to get distracted when working from home, and an emergency phone call from work could easily distract you when doing a quick iron of clothes or cooking. So make sure that if you receive a phone call you do not forget about what you were doing. A missed phone call is easily retrieved so concentrate on one thing at a time.
Make sure that you check smoke detectors regularly to check they still work efficiently. Purchasing a small fire extinguisher may seem like too much but it’s a good thing to have and you would be able to deal with a small fire quickly before it takes hold rather than waiting for a fire brigade to put out a much larger one!
It may seem like an obvious thing but ensure that candles are not burning unattended. It’s is very easy for candles to be knocked over by children or pets if they are unattended or for curtains or screens to be blown into their flame if close by an open window. Consider using the plug in aroma units rather than an open candle if at all possible and always ensure that all candles are extinguished properly before going to bed.
Again, it may be obvious but if you are working from home with small children then ensure that if they are getting snacks or something to eat while you are working ensure that they are eating age appropriate food. Cutting up larger food for smaller children and having small snacks prepared is a great way of ensuring they don’t go searching for food.
One idea I’ve read about is about preparing a packed lunch for them before you start work, just like they are going to school. That way they have food available for them when they get hungry (and don’t have to come disturbing you when you are working) but it also means that you can ensure that the food they are eating is appropriate for them.
Choking on food is the fourth largest cause of accidental death in the US so make sure that where possible lunch times and snack times are supervised wherever possible and make sure you know the correct methods for dealing with choking.
General Hazards around the House
The kitchen is a fascinating place for a small child. All the exciting liquids and food stuffs are kept here and all very tempting. However, as we’ve already said, as we work from home, stress levels rise and it’s easy to forget about some basic things when we are trying to juggle work, parenting and life in general. therefore, it is important to just remember some basic safety tips when small children are going around, and some older children too who can easily be distracted by mobile phones and i-pads and just general “concentrating on other things”. Ensure things like knives are kept away in drawers when not in use and always have them face down in dishwashers. It’s not the first time I have turned and nearly tripped over the open dishwasher door, forgetting it was there! Ensure all kitchen cleaners like bleach and such like are kept locked away from prying eyes and wandering hands. If you are cooking lunch or dinner then try to use the hobs at the back of the cooker first which may be less tempting for a small child to investigate.
Another item to be aware of is cords for curtains or blinds as these can also prove tempting for small children. Tying them up high so that small hands can’t reach is an easy solution but you can get cord wraps which save the cord from hanging loose.
So that’s just a few of the potential hazards that we may come across when working from home and also homeschooling. It may seem alarmist but it’s not meant to be 99.99% of the time everyone will be safe and sound but it’s is only by thinking about the potential issues that may arise that we can take steps to prevent these from happening.
I hope you found this article helpful. I would love to know if you have any other issues that you can think about that may prove useful to tell other people about. I would love to hear from you as always. Get in touch by either using the comments below or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org