The office might not be considered one of the most dangerous places to work, but there are still some risks that are inherent to the office environment. In most cases, these risks can be mitigated through careful planning and proper risk assessment, and through the implementation of safe working practices. Below are six of the most common causes of injuries in the office, as well as information on how you can prevent or minimise the risk of these injuries.
Trips and falls are the most common type of office accident. They can be caused by hazards that are left out in hallways and walkways. Another cause of trips in the office is damaged, worn, or poorly fitted carpets. Choosing Class 33 carpet tiles for heavy commercial use and ensuring they are fitted properly is essential.
Trip hazards aren’t the only floor-bound hazards. Spills can cause employees, customers, and other visitors to slip and injure themselves. It is important to understand slip ratings and choose the most appropriate product for likely usage. Our blog on slip ratings should help.
Office work does not usually require any heavy lifting, but if not done properly, even lifting relatively light weights can lead to injury and strain on the body. Ensure that employees know how to lift properly and safely, which means bending at the knees rather than the back, or using a lifting aid for heavier objects.
Falling objects are a hazard in almost any work place, including in offices. Boxes that are piled too high, items placed on top of cupboards, and incorrectly placed items, are all possible causes of this type of accident. Ensure that the heaviest items are placed on the bottom of shelves and that objects are not stored on top of cabinets and cupboards. Invest in additional storage room if necessary.
Repetitive strain comes from performing a repetitive task over and over again. Typically, it means that employees are not using items properly, or they have not received training in how to prevent repetitive strain. Invest in ergonomic wrist rests for computers, and make sure that all of your employees have the proper chairs, foot stools, and other items of furniture. Encourage your team to take regular breaks, and ensure that they have proper training on how to perform their daily tasks without risking this type of debilitating injury.
The workstation is the area of an office where a person conducts their work. Typically, it consists of a desk and chair, and everything on that desk. Workstation injuries can include repetitive injuries, but also one-off accidents. All electrical equipment should be regularly tested, wiring kept out of the way and secure, and there should be ample room between, underneath, and behind workstations to ensure the safety of your employees.
You should always conduct a health and safety risk assessment in any building type, including offices. They may not seem like the most hazardous premises but, in truth, there are still many accidents waiting to happen.