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Written by Michael Plis. Your go-to source for smart technology & cybersecurity insights for small business. 

  • Writer's pictureMichael Plis

IT Safety Tips

Updated: Apr 21


Office manager discusses occupational health and safety
It is important to review your organisations safety including in areas with IT assets

This blog page is dedicated to IT safety tips around IT assets to maximise on the safety of staff and devices. have collected a large number of tips and reminders and thought I share it with the readers.


Our IT Safety experience: Collectively me and our Cyberkite staff have collected over 40+ years in experience in the IT profession and we want to help you maintain a safe working environment around computers and IT devices.


Safety Disclaimer: THIS IS GENERAL ADVICE ONLY - you might like to consult your states or country safety authority for more advice, as well as electricians, health & safety professionals and so on.


IT Safety Store for Aussie businesses: Check out out IT Safety store page with all sorts of business safety related products and services.

 

Contents

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What is IT Safety?

According to Wikipedia, safety is the state of being "safe", the condition of being protected from harm or other non-desirable outcomes.


Safety can also refer to the control of recognized hazards in order to achieve an acceptable level of risk. IT Safety is a focus around safety matters to do with technology use.


Why Safety in IT is important?

This page discusses IT Safety related to mental health, electrical safety, fire safety, tripping hazards, hygiene, ergonomics, seasonal IT safety like summer or winter, etc. Check out some examples of office hazards, can you pick any related to IT assets?


We think all this is very important to cover for everyone's safety and long life. For a deeper consultation specific to your business book an IT Consultation with Cyberkite (if you're based in Australia) or with an IT provider in your local area.


Mental Health & IT

The toll of mental health in the workplace is great. Each year, 7,200 Australians are compensated for work-related mental health conditions, equating to around 6% of workers’ compensation claims, and approximately $543 million is paid in workers’ compensation for work-related mental health conditions. The problem is even bigger, see the TED talk from England by Tom Oxley.


Why is mental health in the workplace relevant to IT Safety?

  1. Computer monitors can have a bad effect on the sleep patterns. Cyberkite can assist in setting up all your devices to reduce blue light on all your devices to reduce the chances of you and your staff developing sleep disorders.

  2. Workplace social media, email and instant messaging apps can be great for productivity but when not handled right, it can contribute to deterioration of the culture in the workplace.

  3. Complicated or double handling business processes can contribute to staff satisfaction levels, staff retention, stress and depression.

  4. Workplace policies, procedures and governance have to be developed to think of staff's long term mental health to prevent long term mental health injury. And in turn reduce staff performance and make it difficult to concentrate on use of technology.

  5. What Google offices have shown is that retention of good staff is done by creating a great atmosphere that contributes to overall wellbeing. Here's one example - Google Cambridge, UK Office.

  6. Cyberkite can help in many of these areas such as simplified business processes, less double handling, better atmosphere through smart devices and technology features. This in turn can contribute to less days off from your staff.


Mental health workplace resources

  • WorkSafe Victoria's WorkWell Office Toolkit: "The WorkWell Toolkit is a voluntary online navigation tool which links workplaces with relevant research, tools and information, to support them in building a mentally healthy workplace." Can give guidance to other organisations outside Victoria.

  • WorkSafe Work-related stress topic

  • WorkSafe Mental health topic

  • Safe Work Australia to get supports for each Australian state & territory.

  • Heads Up - developed by BeyondBlue Australia, this website gives individuals and organisations free tools and resources to help them manage mental health issues in the workplace.


 

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Winter IT Reminders


Winter has it's fun things and it's evil things. For example, snow is fun and snuggling up under the blanket. But in the office winter can spell a disaster if we aren't careful.


Things to check at the start of winter in the office


  1. All foot heaters under desks - add a reminder at the exist door for all staff to remember to turn off any foot heaters. If possible improve HVAC negating the need for expensive foot heaters with high wattage.

  2. Electric blankets and cushions to warm the bums - check for electrical faults, zapping noises and wiring sticking out of the plugs and cables.

  3. Wall heaters - get them checked each winter. Especially the gas ones prior to use unless you want your whiskers grilled off.

  4. If you are bringing pets to the office, please watch them as they may not realise they go too close to heater and cook.


Winter office safety resources


 

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Summer IT Reminders

Summer is the silly season and full of fun. But leaving an IT device on the sun or in a very hot area like a car can spell an expensive disaster.


And summer brings big thunder storms with lightning. To avoid these dangers here are some tips I've put together for summer time.


10 summer tips to look after IT

According to a Zdnet article here are 10 tips on keeping technology safe during summer.


  1. ​Keep computers in a cool, dry area to prevent overheating. For example, don't keep IT devices in cars as they will melt internal parts. Don't leave technology in direct sunlight for more than 5 minutes as they may overheat if it's a hot day.

  2. ​Don't have too many computers running off one power supply, via an extension cable. If the power socket is affected by a power surge, then all the machines could suffer damage.

  3. Install a surge protector between the power socket and the computer's power cable. Some brands offer guaranteed lightning protection.

  4. Small businesses with networks should get surge protectors to stop power spikes normally transmitted through network cables.

  5. At least once per year users should inspect power protection devices to make sure they are functioning properly.

  6. Ensure IT equipment has its own power circuit, so it isn't sharing the power with air conditioners, fans and/or other ancillary devices.

  7. Turn off and disconnect the power cord during an electrical storm to prevent the IT equipment and other appliances from getting irreparably damaged.

  8. Turn off power during a blackout. When power is restored after a blackout, the signal can initially be inconsistent, which can cause damage.

  9. High voltages can enter the computer through a phone or internet line. To protect your computer and other devices during electrical storms, unplug the telephone or data cable from the modem jack or use a telephone line surge suppressor.

  10. Businesses with network routers, switches and servers should invest in some form of uninterruptible power supply (UPS).


​Summer office safety resources

 

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IT Electrical Safety


Electrical safety in the workplace is very important. When Cyberkite visits your office onsite, they will (where appropriate) suggest safety improvements to your IT workspaces. This is to enhance your safety.


Why is it important to have electrically safe surroundings around computers?

Because they are full of electrical cables and include food and drink in the office or home office.


Regularly review your office or home office for:

  • Power points

  • Cables

  • Power boards

  • Foot heaters

  • IT equipment power cables

  • Other appliances

Electrical office safety resources

 

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IT Tripping Hazards

All too commonly there is a trip-up in the office. What is the cause? Public Health Scotland says that among other things trailing cables is a common tripping hazard.


Regularly review for tripping hazards in the office

  1. Walking paths around the office.

  2. Entrances & doors - no cables should be along them

  3. Cables around the desks

  4. Cables near office chairs

  5. Network cabinets and network/comms rooms

  6. IT devices on the floor


Tripping hazards office resources

 

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IT in Natural or Man-made Disasters


With the growing number of natural disasters one of the biggest problems that an organisation facing a natural disaster has to face is how to manage the risk of it when it strikes. The natural disasters can occur at any time and in different forms such as floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanoes and pandemics.


There are also plenty of manmade disasters such as bushfires, pollution, war or conflicts, accidental explosions, nuclear disasters and others. Similarly to the natural disasters it's important to take these into consideration in IT risk management.


11 ways to protect IT during disasters

  1. Label all your IT assets. If you ever need to quickly shove everything into a truck or cars it's important to have it all labelled including all the cabling and peripherals. A good way to do that is to maintain an IT asset database. Cyberkite can provide advice - book us in for an IT Consultation.

  2. Put all IT & other electrical assets on higher ground if possible. If you put IT and other electrical assets on higher ground it's less likely to be under water. If you are in a flood prone region, invest in a having some battery or fuel operated pumps.

  3. Install strong UPS batteries for running your IT core assets. For a time at least it will help your core IT assets to have a chance to shutdown properly such as servers, CCTV NVR units, network NAS storage devices etc.

  4. Have a backup 4G or 5G internet backup service in-case your wired business internet goes down. For some disasters the mobile network may still be active while wired submerged services may go down. A satellite internet backup service might be handy in disaster prone regions.

  5. Inspect your office's generators regularly if they are required to run your business. For example a small data centre or a plant room that's crucial to service delivery needs to have a backup generator to keep going even during a disaster. It may be needed to provide a basic service in your region.

  6. Install and maintain fire suppression systems in areas with core IT assets such as server rooms to kick in during a bushfire or internal office fire. Such options as inert or synthetic gas suppression system can be installed in your server room to provide some protection in some circumstances.

  7. Test your failsafe and equipment regularly. A great way to protect your IT assets from damage is to ensure or try to ensure everything works and your data is properly being backed up to the cloud - so in case the cloud internet link is severed you have backups to restore from in case fire, volcanic lava, floods or a hurricane destroys or sucks out all your IT assets along with their stored data.

  8. A series of lightnings can devastate IT assets. Install heavy duty surge protectors in the switchboards that protect your office from lightning strikes and cut power when a surge runs from the street to the office power grid. Worth the expense to have them installed. Talk to your electrician or contact Cyberkite (AU Only) to connect you with one in your area.

  9. Move all servers & data to the cloud. Weigh the risks and the projected increasing natural disasters in the coming decades. It might seem counterintuitive to go to the cloud because of increasing cyberattacks but with stronger IT security measures it should be possible to move your organisation data to the cloud. Why is it good? When disasters strike you can rest easier knowing your organisations data is safely distributed across the world or in several places reducing chances of complete data loss. Book an IT Consultation to chat more about moving your core services like email and files to the cloud either M365 or Google Workspace.

  10. To minimise physical assets and property loss move staff to work from anywhere approach where possible. With a workforce that's primarily working from home or anywhere it will be possible to reduce losses and continue functioning when every staff member has a laptop and a phone. Even staff that work from an office if given a laptop and a phone can almost instantly pop the laptop and phone their carry case and relocate and the business can continue to some degree. Book an IT Consultation with Cyberkite (AU Only) to work with you on a proposal to procure upgrades to eliminate desktops and servers for cloud / phone and laptop approach with docking stations and large monitors.

  11. Ensure best IT security protections within your budget & keep things secure. In case of a war or conflict or risk of conflict ensure strongest possible protections or plan for them. This is to prevent cyber attacks or increased cyber warfare such as the ones that are unleashed on some nations by an aggressor state towards businesses and organisations. Have a rapid data erase plan if you live in war or conflict zones or prone to it - so in a moments notice you can erase everything store locally - you can use software or methods to quickly scramble data. See Lifewire article - How to completely erase a hard drive.


Disaster resources

 

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Hygiene around IT Devices & COVID-19


Hygiene of IT Devices and the surroundings around the devices in offices is very important, not only to the smooth operation of the devices but the health of the staff that use it.


It has become as especially important thing during the Global COVID-19 Pandemic which started in 2020.


Cleaning tools for tech cleaning

Always check the user manual of each device for safest methods of cleaning specific IT Devices or contact Cyberkite for advice. Common tech cleaning tools used are:

  • Microfiber cloth

  • Alcohol solution

  • Water

  • Hand washing

  • Anti-Static Air blower

  • UV light cleaner

  • Other IT Tools

Regularly do the following hygiene matters in the office

​1. Organise for the cleaners to safely remove dust

2. Organise for cleaners or assigned staff to regularly clean IT devices

3. Keyboard, mouse and other small peripherals

4. Mobile Devices

5. Touchscreen displays

Hygiene & COVID-19 workplace resources

 

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Ergonomics


Why do ergonomics and computers come hand in hand? The word ergonomics comes from the Greek word “ergon” which means work and “nomos” which means laws. It's essentially the “laws of work” or “science of work”...


Ergonomics draws on many disciplines to optimize the interaction between the work environment and the worker. We think it's very important to get this right specifically around the work computers to avoid long term injuries.


Injuries around the office are commonly due to lack of ergonomics setups around computers - in fact humans aren't built to sit in front of the computer. But we can minimise the damage.


​Every 6 months review your office ergonomics

  1. Check the height of monitors

  2. Check the desk and chair height and positioning

  3. Check eye level against the centre of the screen

  4. Review the setups at staff work from home desks at their homes by video

  5. Review the work areas for badly positioned keyboard and mouse.

  6. Establish better add-on supports for monitors and computers through the right monitor arms, laptop arms, stand-up desks & bionomic chairs.

  7. Book an IT professional to review your setups in a paid IT Consultation onsite or remotely (via video walkthrough).

​Office ergonomics resources

 

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Environmental Impact


For centuries, tools and furniture were made to last but in the last few decades IT products have been increasingly shorter and shorter in life-span and this has created an enormous toxic e-waste and shortage of resources problem.


So recycling of e-waste is becoming the norm across most countries. Here are some grim statistics from CleanUp Australia.


Pollution statistics

  • ​Fewer than 1% of TVs and around 10% of PCs and laptops are recycled Australia wide

  • E-waste is responsible for 70% of the toxic chemicals such as lead, cadmium and mercury found in landfill - and 23,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions would be saved if half of the televisions discarded annually were recycled

  • Electronic rubbish is growing at three times the rate of any other waste stream

  • Discarded devices are piling up around the world at a rate of 40 million per year

  • 98% of the components in your computer or television can be fully recycled


Tips on reducing e-waste

  1. Re-evaluate whether you really need a new electronic item or device. Book a free Planning Session with Cyberkite to assess what you need and what is aged and needs replacement or repair. Do you really need the latest and greatest or do you need to rethink if a second hand option or parts upgrades might accomplish the same goal.

  2. Consider the second-hand market. The idea of regularly upgrading devices has become all too common in our society. But it’s worth checking the second-hand market or purchasing an item that is pre-loved or refurbished before buying new. Contact Cyberkite to source second hand or refurbished products.

  3. Extend the life of your electronics. Try to get the most of your products. Keep them clean, avoid overcharging batteries and use protective covers on tablets and phones. Ensuring new items are used more than once is also a great way to reduce e-waste. Book an IT Helpdesk session with Cyberkite (Remotely or Onsite) to perform regular maintenance & repairs.

  4. Donate or sell working electronics. One of the best ways to stop our unwanted IT items from entering the waste stream is to give or sell them to others who will find a use for them. Not only does this extend their life, it could earn you a bit of extra money in the process or you could be contributing to bringing someone out of poverty. Visit our E-waste Policy page for our donation program for IT products.

  5. Consider repairing the IT item (if it is broken). Contact a local IT hardware repairers than replace it. Be sure to check with the product's manufacturer before completing any repairs or part replacements, as this may void the warranty.


Environmental office resources


Future dangers

Well, there you have it. We are at the end. But IT Safety never ends, it's a constant improvement and change. For example new types of technology and problems will arise in the future, as the earth and business changes.


Me and my team have a lot more knowledge under our sleeve on the topic of IT Safety. If you have any specific suggestions please don't hesitate to leave your request in the comments.

Will cloud cities ever become real? What will the risks entail? We will have to get to the time when they will be invented.


Safely glide online and in the workplace.

Regards, Michael

 

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About Michael Plis

 

Michael is a technology and cybersecurity professional with over 18 years of experience. He offers unique insights into the benefits and potential risks of technology from a neurodivergent perspective. He believes that technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master. In his blog articles, Michael helps readers better understand and use technology in a beneficial way. He is also a strong supporter of mental health initiatives and advocates for creating business environments that promote good mental health.

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Cyberkite blog is your go-to source for smart technology and cybersecurity insights for small business. Stay ahead of the curve with our expert tips and strategies, and join the Cyberkite community by subscribing today!

Disclaimer: Please note that the opinions expressed by Michael or any blog assistants on this blog are his/their own and may not necessarily reflect the views of Cyberkite. Michael is neurodiverse so he needs the assistance of voice typing and AI tools to help him write and edit blog articles to and get them completed. Also we use open source images from Unsplash and Pixabay and we try to include credit to the artist of each image. Michael shares his opinions based on his extensive experience in the IT and Cybersecurity industry, learning from the world's top subject matter experts and passing on this knowledge to his audience in the hopes of benefiting them. If there is a mistake or something needs to be corrected please message using the green chat window bottom right hand corner or contact him through social media by searching for Michael Plis blogger. 

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