Working Remotely

Remote Work Safety Checklist

As part of the standard Remote Work Agreement at Michigan State University, employees who opt to work from an alternate location must certify that the selected location is safe and secure. Participating employees may use the following checklist to assist them in a survey of the overall safety and adequacy of their alternative worksite. These items are only recommendations, and do not encompass every situation that may be encountered.

Employees are expected to maintain their workspace in a safe condition, free from hazards and other dangers to people and equipment. Employees are also encouraged to obtain professional assistance with issues concerning appropriate electrical service and circuit capacity for residential worksites.

Fire Safety

  • Practice a fire evacuation plan for use in the event of an emergency.
  • Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors regularly and replace batteries once a year.
  • Always have a working fire extinguisher conveniently located in your home and check the charge regularly.
  • Keep the workspace clean from trash or other combustible materials.

Ergonomics and Workstation Safety

  • Computers can be heavy. Always place them on sturdy, level, well maintained furniture.
  • Choose office chairs that provide good supporting backrests and allow adjustments to fit you comfortably.
  • Place computer monitor at a height that is comfortable and does not require neck or back strain and locate computer keyboards at heights that do not require wrist strain or place the keyboard on an adjustable surface.
  • Install sufficient lighting in locations that reduce glare at the work surface.
  • Always use proper lifting techniques when moving or lifting heavy equipment and furniture.

Electrical Safety

  • Verify all electrical plugs, cords, panels, and receptacles are in good condition and free of exposed conductors or broken insulation.
  • Ensure three‐wire grounded outlets or circuit breaker power strips are used.

Note: Homes with two‐wire outlets that require plug adapters will not afford adequate protection for computers.

  • Place equipment so there is sufficient ventilation for electrical components.

Other Risks to Evaluate

  • Will equipment beyond traditional computer and electronics be used in the home?
  • Are any hazards caused by materials, equipment, or work processes which the employer provides or requires?
  • Do activities such as 3D printing, product assembly, packaging and labeling, or other “manufacturing” tasks occur?
  • Is there any need for chemical use beyond traditional chemicals found in a residential setting?
  • If the home office is located below grade (basement), has the space has been tested for radon?

For more information on MSU’s remote work policies, MSU HR Remote Work Guidance.

For remote worker safety support: contact EHS Occupational Safety.