It doesn’t have to take much to establish a safe and hazard free working environment. But before you do so, you will have to identify the dangers first. Some might be clear immediately, but others can be well-hidden.
If you exclude paper cuts as a workplace hazard, the most common source of injuries in an office is injuries from falling, being struck by or against objects and ergonomic injuries. Most of the injuries could easily have been prevented by making some simple changes at the workplace.
The problem with many of these incidents is that they are considered as being so insignificant that they are hardly worth reporting. That's why few people truly recognise how dangerous even an office can be.
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However, a study by the Bureau of Labour Statistics revealed that a significant number of people employed in the private, office and administrative industry, report injuries. Unlike at work sites with heavy machinery and equipment, where employees often have to engage in strenuous manual labour and where injuries are expected, most injuries in an office environment are unnecessary and can be prevented.
For a list of recommendations for a hazard free environment, click on the image below to read all about the Health and Safety Audit now:
As a matter of fact, employees are 2.5 times more likely to suffer a disabling fall in an office setting than anywhere else. This is possibly due to various reasons; nevertheless, the statistic could be reduced by raising awareness among employees. Simple advice to avoid such incident from happening again includes:
- Prevent boxes, files or other items piling up in a walkway.
- Avoid cords stretching out over long distances.
- Provide steps or small ladders for employees reaching for something high-up. Standing on (rolling) chairs is a disaster waiting to happen.
- Ensure a clear line of vision by preventing blind corners or cubicle walls. Simply installing a mirror strategically could do wonders.
- Provide a grip in areas with smooth or slippery surfaces or where areas become slippery when wet.
- Emphasize to employees that they should shut drawers as soon as they are done with them.
- Inform employees how to stack objects, if needs be. Heavy items should be as low down as possible.
- Provide furniture that is adjustable in order to accommodate the widest range of employees. Tables and chairs should be adjustable in height to ensure that employees can (literally) keep their feet firmly on the ground.
- Train employees on how to use equipment.
- Provide lights that can be adjusted both in direction as well as illumination strength.
- Minimize screen glare to prevent employees having to sit in an awkward position to be able to read.
- Keep fire-sensors and sprinkler-installations in perfect condition to ensure maximum benefit should the need arise.
While the provision of special furniture or regular maintenance might require capital layout, most steps can be taken by simply changing a habit. Often these habits are caused by sheer laziness or lack of awareness of the consequences. Health and Safety Representatives, therefore, should walk through offices regularly to remind employees of the habits that are. Few will have a problem remembering to lock their door when they leave the house, so closing a cabinet or moving a box by several centimeters shouldn’t be much of an issue too.
MAKROSAFE have been assisting clients for more than 23 years with recommendations for a hazard-free environment.
MAKROSAFE / SAFETYWALLET / MY SAFETY SHOP are all in Partnership.
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