Office work, while considered a low-activity job can still have dangers associated with it. Repeated movements, footwear with little traction, improper lifting techniques, equipment risks, and trip hazards can be found in any office. How can you keep yourself and staff safe? Reducing workplace injuries is an ongoing issue in all industries. Here are some tips and exposures to look our for in your office.
Be sure to use handrails when going up or down stairs and pay attention when going down stairs.
Chairs with casters are made to roll, so be careful that your chair is still behind you when you are ready to sit down. Leaning back in chairs can also pose a risk.
Keeping it clean
- Many people will not be wearing footwear with traction and are not expecting to come across puddles or slick spots indoors. Messy work areas are trip, slip, and fall hazards.
- Reduce unnecessary clutter including file boxes and personal items.
- Keep a safe walking space of at least 22 inches wide.
- Even discarded papers can pose a slip hazard. So be sure to keep the floor of working and walking areas free of tangled cords, paper clips, spilled liquids, and other debris.
- Cleaning up spills or leaks as they happen and marking these areas as dangerous is also key.
Printers, copiers, and fax machines share their part in the blame of office dangers. Be sure to unplug any items when being cleaned.
Stack the deck in your favor
When carrying items, be sure that the pile is light enough that you can handle it easily and that they are low enough to see over. Proper lifting techniques are not just for piano movers and warehouse employees. Keep in mind that lifting should be done with your legs and ask for help if the item seems too heavy or bulky to handle alone.
Desk and file drawers can also be a peril in the office. Drawers should be fully closed when not in use because drawers can become hazards if they are walked into or tripped over. The drawers should also have safety stops so that full drawers of files will not tumble out onto the floor or injure someone.
Be Prepared, Be Aware
There are things that organizations of any size can do to get a head start on workplace safety initiatives.
- Sometimes just looking where you are going when walking through the office can prevent injuries. Slips and trips are more likely to happen if you are distracted when walking.
- Collect emergency contact information from current employees and new hires. Remind staff to update this information annually.
- First aid kits should be available and restocked as needed.
- CPR and First Aid training can be invaluable to employees both for while at the office and at home.
- Bring any concerns to your office manager, supervisor, or human resources personnel.