Teleworker safety is typically associated with ergonomics - positioning equipment and furniture properly to avoid repetitive stress ailments and all that. But in her research, Susan Harrington is addressing an array of home office health safety issues we don\u2019t think much about - like fire and electrical safety, and home air quality.Teleworker safety is typically associated with ergonomics -\u00a0 positioning equipment and furniture properly to avoid repetitive stress ailments and all that. But in her research, Susan Harrington is addressing an array of home office health safety issues we don\u2019t think much about - like fire and electrical safety, and home air quality.A fire protection engineer who formerly designed sprinklers and fire alarm systems for the General Services Administration, Harrington and her software-developer husband formed a company that develops safety training software. In 2000, while developing fire safety training software for nursing home staff, home office safety caught her attention when OSHA flip-flopped on whether companies are liable for teleworkers\u2019 safety.\u00a0\u00a0\u201cMost companies just provide a checklist of things to do,\u201d Harrington says. \u201cBut unless you change people\u2019s attitudes, they just write it off.\u201dSo with a grant from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Harrington launched a home office safety study and training program. Phase 1 involved creating an ergonomic training program on CD-ROM piloted with 102 teleworkers. Phase 2, underway now, involves creating six training modules that will be piloted by\u00a0 several thousand teleworkers.\u00a0\u00a0At the outset of the first pilot, 75% of participants said they\u2019d never thought about ergonomics, and only 14% had had telework safety training. Yet 44% said they felt discomfort while working, whether it be pain in neck, shoulders, arms, sore eyes or wrists. After training, 100% said they would evaluate their home offices and make necessary changes.\u201cA lot of this is about making people more comfortable so they can be more productive,\u201d Harrington says.\u00a0\u00a0For Phase 2, Harrington is developing training modules for fire safety, electrical safety, indoor air quality, accident, theft and disaster planning, and the safety roles and responsibilities for managers.\u00a0 She\u2019ll launch a small pilot in the spring of 2005, then launch a big test with several thousand teleworkers next June.Harrington\u2019s research has her talking to fire marshals. While they cite instances of home office fires caused by overloaded circuits, such fires aren\u2019t reported because the "home office" isn\u2019t a room specifically designated by fire codes. For electrical safety, she\u2019s developing a power assessment tool that helps teleworkers determine the amount of power each office device draws, information they can use to readjust the load on various circuits.\u00a0\u00a0\u201cIt\u2019s all about awareness,\u201d Harrington says. \u201cWith me, I would always start cooking lunch in the kitchen, then the phone would ring and I\u2019d burn something. Now I set timers to make sure I don\u2019t forget.\u201d\u00a0If you want to participate in Harrington\u2019s pilot and gain free safety training, write her at email@example.com. She also promises to share many more of her safety training tips for a future column.