Office Hazards – How to Reduce the Risk
Guest Post by Sarah Jessica Smith
A typical downtown office might not be as dangerous as a construction site but that does not mean that it’s a 100% safe work environment. From seemingly benign paper cuts all the way to falling down a flight of stairs, the office can prove to be a deadly environment to work in.
The good news is that by applying preventive measures you can get ahead of most disaster scenarios and ensure a safe working environment for your employees.
The first step in creating a safe office environment is identifying the hazards within the office and then working to gradually reduce the risk they pose.
By assuming a proactive stance on office safety, you make sure fewer people get injured on the job.
Dim lights might be super romantic but they are not suited for work. Well-lit office space is a room or an open plan office that receives plenty of natural light.
Needless to say, you need to have large windows, which is generally not an issue if your office space is located high up in a skyscraper. However, business owners often don’t get the chance to alter the office space they rent, so they are stuck with lightless basements.
In such cases, you should use LED lights to boost the light levels during day and night alike. Purchase light bulbs that have the 3000K figure written on the packaging because this light is ideal for human eyesight. Eyestrain is not a trivial issue and you need to approach it seriously. Otherwise, there will a whole lot of employees wearing prescription glasses.
Be careful not to slip
Perhaps the most common office injuries are slips, falls, and trip so they require special attention. They are hard to predict but you can use common sense and diligence to prevent them in most cases. It seems perfectly sane to keep the aisles and corridors clear of any equipment or other stuff that might be blocking them.
Furthermore, if an electric cord has to go across a passageway, be sure to tape it to the floor so no one would trip on it.
If a spillage occurs, which is usually the case near or inside the office kitchen, then soak up and clean the liquid immediately before anyone gets a chance to step into the puddle and slip.
Most corporate laws state the employer as the one responsible for work safety so you are actually legally obliged to mop up the office. In the final attempt to reduce the number of slips and falls, you can place mats or carpets on the floor as they are much safer than bare tiles.
Getting caught in more than just work
Even if we are speaking of a single drawer at the work desk, storage can cause literal pain for workers. Because they not attentive 100% of the time, it is easy to get their fingers stuck in a drawer, which can hurt a lot and damage the bone and tissue.
What you can do is install drawer bumpers and cushion pads to soften the blow and reduce the noise closing a drawer makes.
If you’re wondering how to avoid office hazards regarding storage and filing, you need to take another look at your shelves. Faulty shelving is a major contributor to accidents in which items land on workers. Invest in durable metal or wooden shelves that will be properly stacked.
You probably know the drill: heavy items go to the bottom shelves while lighter boxes sit on higher shelves. If the shelves in the storage room are too high, then provide the workers with a step ladder to easily reach the topmost shelf.
Faulty wiring is among the top 5 causes of fires in the home but the office is not much different. A broken outlet or a damaged cord can cause a fire inside the office with devastating consequences. The best prevention against an office building fire is the regular checking up of the wiring done by the local fire dept.
Furthermore, you should ban the arbitrary use of heating bodies that workers will bring from home. If anyone is feeling cold, the simplest solution is to crank up the heat.
Apart from applying preventive measures, your staff should be prepared and well-trained for the worst case scenario. Regular fire drills that include evacuation the premises and learning how to use a fire extinguisher should be held every 6 months. Also, don’t shy away from posting “no smoking” and “fire hazard” signs all over the office.
Compared to a fire, the final item on our list might not seem as scary but it has the potential to be a long-term health risk. Ergonomics is not just a fancy word because working in a sitting position can cause a lot of stress to the entire body.
That is why all employees need to be equipped with adjustable office chairs and desks to match. What is more, you can custom order furniture that is custom-tailed to meet the ergonomic needs of your employees.
This way, not only will you prevent neck pain from being a frequent ailment but you will generate a lot of happy faces.
Avoiding office hazards actually begins by taking notice of the possible dangers and actively reducing the health risk they pose. Once you eliminate all the potential backbreaking (hopefully, not literally) perils, the staff will feel much safer. Sometimes placing an anti-slip mat or changing the light bulbs can make a world of difference in terms of office safety.
Do you feel your office is a hazardous environment? Have you or any of your team been hurt at the office?
About the Author
Sarah Jessica Smith is a young blogger from Sydney. She is in love with life and all the things that can make her daily routine easier. She loves to write about home improvement, lifestyle, and all the small things that make life such a great adventure.