WHS Checklist - Working from home or from a privately funded or satellite office

Do not return your completed form to Ministerial and Parliamentary Services

A copy of the completed checklist should be retained on the employee's personal file as evidence of the condition of the work area at the time the arrangements to work from home or a privately-funded office were approved.

Enquiries: Ministerial and Parliamentary Services
Email: mpshelp@finance.gov.au
Phone: (02) 6215 3333

The Work Health and Safety (WHS) Checklist is designed to help MOP(S) Act employees and managers to assess WHS risks in the home, privately-funded or satellite office. This checklist should be read together with the ‘Working from Home’ guideline. This checklist was prepared referencing the NSW WorkCover Authority publication Health and Safety in the Office Guide 2004, and Comcare’s publication Officewise.

It is recommended that, where practicable, a home inspection be required by the employing Senator or Member prior to approving the employee’s working from home arrangements. Where an independent inspection is not practicable, the inspection should be carried out by the employee and discussed with the employing Senator or Member.

Work environment
Designated work area

Designated work area

The floor of the work area is level and there is limited use of mats/or rugs
There is suitable storage for documents and books
Environmental conditions

Environmental conditions

Lighting is adequate for the tasks being performed. Easy to see and comfortable on the eyes
Glare and reflection can be controlled
Ventilation and room temperature can be controlled, regardless of season
There is no excessive noise affecting the work area
Walkways are clear of clutter and trip hazards, such as trailing electrical cords
The work area is segregated from other hazards in the home, for example, hot cooking surfaces in the kitchen
Non smoking environment
Emergency exit

Emergency exit

Path to the exit is reasonably direct
Path to the exit is sufficiently wide and free of obstructions or trip hazards to allow unimpeded passage
Safety equipment checklist

Safety equipment checklist

First aid kits - the employee has access to appropriate first aid equipment such as bandaids, cold/hot packs, tweezers and antiseptic spray/wipes.
Fire safety plan - the employee has considered their fire safety plan, i.e. smoke detector installed and maintained and fire extinguisher, fire blanket or accessible/clear path to nearby exit.
Security

Security

Security is sufficient to prevent unauthorised entry
A communications procedure has been established to ensure regular contact between employee and manager
The work area can be secured
If working from a Privately Funded Office (PFO), or Satellite Office (SO) the relevant Australian Federal Police Liaison team has been notified of the establishment of the PFO or SO and its address
Electrical

Electrical

Power outlets are not overloaded with double adapters and power boards
Electrical cords are safely stowed
Connectors, plugs and outlet sockets are in safe working order
Electrical equipment is free from any obvious external damage

Work Environment

Workstation setup
Work surface

Work surface

There is adequate leg space under the workstation
A footrest is available if needed
From the seated position, the most frequently used items are within easy reach
Cables are stowed away
There are no sharp contact points on the workstation or other equipment
Chair

Chair

The seat height, seat tilt, angle and back rest are all adjustable
The chair has a stable base (preferably five-star)
The chair moves freely
There is adequate lumbar support
The chair’s padding is adequate
The seat height is adjusted so that arms and forearms are at right angles or slightly greater and forearms and hands form straight lines when resting on the keyboard
The seat back is adjusted to support the lumbar curve of the lower back
Feet are flat on the floor or on a footrest so that knees are bent at right angles and thighs are horizontal to floor
The arm rests can be stowed whilst typing, but may be utilised to provide support during other activities
Keyboard and mouse

Keyboard and mouse

Keyboard to user distance allows user to relax shoulders with elbows close to the body
Keyboard position is flat
Mouse is placed directly next to the keyboard
Mouse is at same level as the keyboard
Monitor

Monitor

Monitor height is adjusted so top of screen is at or slightly lower than eye level (may need to be lower where bifocals are used)
Viewing distance is between 350mm – 750mm
Monitor and keyboard are placed directly and symmetrically in front of user
Monitor is positioned to avoid glare, i.e. perpendicular to window or other strong light source
Nature of tasks

Nature of tasks

Physical demands of tasks
Physical demands of tasks
Safe posture is adopted
Any lifting, pushing or carrying type task is well within physical capacity
Work practices

Work practices

Wrists are kept straight and not supported on any surface while typing
Sitting posture is upright or slightly reclined, with lower back supported
From the seated position the telephone is within easy reach, and either a hand is used to hold the telephone receiver or a headset is worn (ie no cradling of the receiver between shoulder and ear)
Long periods of continuous activity are broken by performing other tasks, changing position, standing up and stretching
Repetitive actions are not continued for long periods without appropriate breaks. Breaks should be taken after every 30 mins of keyboarding, including standing at least once per hour
Other factors

Other factors

Other
Telephone or other communication devices are readily available to allow effective communication in an emergency situation
Emergency contact numbers and details are known
A process is in place for the prompt reporting of incidents
Other
Individual factors

Individual factors

Arrangements are in place for person(s) other than the employee to care for persons dependent on the employee during the employee’s ordinary hours of duty
The employee’s fitness and health is suitable to the tasks to be undertaken
Any special needs to ensure health and safety have been advised to the Senator or Member or authorised person
Communication

Communication

Established communication system between the employee and their manager (for example, call-in or email morning and night).
Employee to inform manager if there is any change that may impact their health and safety or the health and safety of another worker (for example, a new pet, renovations or moving house)
Managers to ensure the agreed communications strategy with the worker is documented
Mental Health

Mental Health

Establish boundaries around work hours with other household members
Schedule regular meetings and catch ups with managers, team members and clients to help maintain ongoing contact and foster positive working relationships
Use outdoor spaces where possible to take breaks and incorporate physical movement as part of your working day
Identify potential distractions and put strategies in place to minimise them, for example separating the workstation from the rest of the house where possible
Signatures

Signatures

The designated home office, privately-funded or satellite office area has been inspected and any risks to safety discussed with the employing Senator or Member.

The employee is aware that should there be a change to the location or conditions of the work-space:

  • the employing Senator or Member must be informed;
  • and a new checklist must be completed and placed on the employee’s personnel file.

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