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Occupational risks in telework
By: Julio Rodríguez
The unexpected presence of Covid19 has led to a series of changes and adaptations in companies to reduce the level of worker exposure and infection while maintaining the productivity levels included in their business plans. Telework, which had already been adopted by some service companies in a way to reduce their operating costs, became an important and necessary element at work to keep the worker free from the infection of Covid19.
This led to a significant reduction of workers attending the company worksite, especially those assigned to administrative tasks and not directly involved in basic operations, maintenance, and industrial services. Undoubtedly, the prevention aspects and working environment conditions in company office or facility, to which the worker was subject on a regular basis, changed significantly when workers were asked to stay and work from home.
There is a relevant aspect to consider related to the ergonomic and psychosocial factors to which worker is exposed while working from home instead of his usual workplace.
It arises then, to ask the following questions, in line with performing telework for the duration time of the current pandemic:
¿Does the worker have a workplace at home that meets the ergonomic and psychosocial conditions in accordance with the company health and safety policy of and that complies with the legal requirements and technical standards?
¿Are spacing conditions, desk and chair, computer equipment, lighting, noise, ventilation, and temperature suitable at the workplace?
¿Is the worker meeting active breaks, working hours, postural hygiene and health conditions while doing the work from home?
We do not know how long will last until the worker can return to the usual workplace due to Covid19 reasons. What is true is that after this some companies will decide to keep a certain number of their workers at home, as a common way of work. In that sense it becomes necessary for the company to manage or ensure for the worker, a safe workplace while working from home