WSH Bulletin, 2 June 2020: Take care of your safety and health while working from home // Working safely at height after Circuit Breaker // Update on WSH Awards 2020

WSH Bulletin, 2 June 2020: Take care of your safety and health while working from home // Working safely at height after Circuit Breaker // Update on WSH Awards 2020

Jun 02, 2020

2 June 2020, Ref: 2021027

Take care of your safety and health while working
from home

 

To stem the transmission of coronavirus infection, many in Singapore are actively working from home. Despite the Circuit Breaker measures being eased in June 2020, employers are to ensure that employees who can work from home continue to do so. This means that working from home is here to stay in the months ahead and may be the new normal for some.

 

So how can we take care of our safety and health while working from home?

 
Set up a work and rest schedule
Working from home does not mean you should be “Always On” and working all the time. 
 
• Set boundaries for yourself by clearly defining working hours. For example,
   you can consider breaking out an 8-hour shift into 8.30am to 11.30am, 2pm to
   5pm and 7pm to 9pm. Doing so will create pockets of time during the day to
   interact or attend to the needs of your family members.  
• Maintain the practice of having regular lunch or rest breaks while working from
   home. Regular meals and rest breaks are important not just for our overall
   physical health, they are also important for our mental well-being.
• Set a “switch off” time. This is an important but often overlooked aspect of
   working from home due to the blurring of boundaries. Even when we have
   switched off our computers, our minds may still be active over work matters.
   We need to learn to tune out when it is time to let our mind rest. 
 
Make your workspace ergonomically comfortable
A dedicated workspace may not be available when adults are working from home and the children are on home-based learning. This means some of us may have to resort to using the dining table, coffee table, sofa or even the bed as a temporary workspace. Regardless of where you work, find ways to customise your chosen workspace to mimic the ideal working posture as far as possible.
 
          
            Figure 1: Recommended workspace design and work posture.
 
If you are not using a proper work desk, you should improvise to replicate the ideal working posture by paying attention to the 3 S’s – Sit, See and Stretch:
 
• Sit: Prolonged use of laptops can lead to musculoskeletal disorders of the
   neck, shoulder or lower back. This is exacerbated if you adopt a poor sitting
   posture. To achieve the ideal viewing angle, consider investing in an external
   monitor (with external mouse and keyboard) or propping up the laptop on a box
   or a stack of books. Using a laptop on the bed or sofa may be acceptable for
   short durations, but this does not promote good posture and may lead to aches
   or pain in the long run. You could improvise by using cushions to support your
   back or by using a small portable table to prop up your laptop instead of resting
   it on your lap.
• See:  Take regular screen breaks to relieve your eye muscles and reduce eye
   strain by following the 20/20/20 rule – for every 20 minutes spent on a screen,
   spend 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet (i.e. approximately 6 metres)
   away.
• Stretch: You can alternate between sitting or standing especially when you
   have long “back-to-back” meetings. Take regular micro-breaks (e.g. for 1-2
   minutes every hour) to get up, stretch and just walk around.
 
Stay healthy
This can be achieved by keeping fit, eating healthy and staying connected:
 
Keep fit:
• Go out for a short run or brisk walk before, in between or after work.
• Climb up a staircase in lieu of taking the lift as a form of exercise.
• Exercise at home (there are many exercise videos available on the Internet).
 
Eat healthy:
• Do not overeat and do not overindulge in unhealthy food. Select healthier food
   options such as sandwiches, salads or soups.
• Eat healthier snacks like nuts in between meals.
• Drink more water to stay hydrated, and avoid or reduce your intake of sugary drinks.  
• Avoid drinking more than your usual amount of coffee or tea.   
 
Stay connected:
• Call or WhatsApp your extended family, close friends or colleagues to stay in
   touch. This will help to maintain perspective and mental well-being.
• Talk to a friend or a professional counsellor if you feel overwhelmed or stressed.
 

Working from home can be a positive experience if you make deliberate plans and act
on them today. Take time to take care of your safety and health.

 
 

Working safely at height after Circuit Breaker

 

Working at height has always been a key concern for workplace safety and health.

 

From 2 June 2020, Singapore will gradually reopen its economic activities and allow selected businesses to resume operations. This resumption of work includes construction projects that cannot be left unattended and or are time sensitive, such as, suspended residential renovation works. 

 

In the impending resumption of construction activities, the Workplace Safety and Health Council urges employers to remind their workers on the importance of safety when working at height, including workers operating Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs), Mast Climbing Work Platforms (MCWPs) and/or construction hoists.

 

The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) had developed a safe operating guide on working safely while using the MEWPs, MCWPs or hoists. 

 

Employers are also urged to establish and incorporate a system of safe management measures at the workplace, which includes, safe distancing and safety/hygiene requirements. This could potentially help prevent the re-emergence of community spread cases and help ensure our workers go home safe and healthy to their families.

 

Download IPAF’s safe operating guide on working safely using MEWPs, MCWPs or
hoists here.

 
Read MOM’s Requirements for Safe Management Measures at the workplace after Circuit Breaker period here.
 
Get more resources on working safely at height here.
 
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Update on WSH Awards 2020

 

As announced by the Multi-Ministry Taskforce, the Circuit Breaker measures will be gradually eased from 2 June 2020 onwards and businesses will be allowed to resume activities in phases.

 

We would like to inform you that submission of applications for WSH Awards 2020 will also be resumed from 2 June 2020 onwards.

 
Please submit your applications to WSH Council by 30 June 2020.
 

For more details about the criteria of the awards, please visit www.wshc.sg/wshawards.


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