In Health and Safety like it or not OFFICE safety is just as critical as the guy on the crane outside or the truck driver pulling that load or the cat skinner flattening the lease site, but for some reason we don’t cover it enough WELL TODAY’S the DAY!
A job where most of the work tasks are completed while sitting in a chair in a climate-controlled office building would seem less fraught with danger. However, a surprising number of hazards can be present in an office setting. Here are some common concerns for office workers:
• Poor lighting
• Poor ventilation and indoor air quality
• Slips, trips and falls
• Electrical hazards
• Collisions with objects such as open file cabinet drawers Electrical problems in offices can include extension cords. They can create a trip-and-fall hazard, and may also overload circuits. Overloading can lead to shorts, outages and fires.
Often someone will go out and buy an extension cord that is not sufficiently rated for the job, creating these electrical hazards. Before you buy or use extension cords, find out about your office policy. If extension cords are permitted, you should check with the maintenance department to find out what cords are required. Then put in a work request to add outlets so that extension cords can be eliminated. Surprisingly, the most dangerous part of office work can be the possibility of falls. Standing on a chair to reach something on a shelf or bending down while seated in an unstable chair are two causes. Be aware of potential slip and trip hazards.
Boxes, files and various items piled in walkways can create a tripping hazard, according to OH&S. Be certain that all materials are safely stored in their proper location to prevent buildup of clutter in walkways. Further, in addition to posing an electrical hazard, stretching cords across
Standing on chairs – particularly rolling office chairs – is a significant fall hazard. Workers who need to reach something at an elevated height should use a stepladder.
Maintain a clear line of vision
Workers can collide when making turns in the hallways and around blind corners or cubicle walls.
Get a grip
Carpeting and other skid-resistant surfaces can serve to reduce falls. Marble or tile can become very slippery – particularly when wet, according to the
Shut the drawer
File cabinets with too many fully extended drawers could tip over if they are not secured, the council warns. Additionally, open drawers on desks and file cabinets pose a tripping hazard, so be sure to always completely close drawers when not in use.
According to the Office of Compliance, which oversees the safety of U.S. congressional workers, proper storage of heavy items can help reduce the number of office injuries. Large stacks of materials and heavy equipment can cause major injuries if they are knocked over.
Provide adjustable equipment
One size does not fit all in an office workstation. “Adjustability is the key,”. “Chairs, work surfaces, monitor stands, etc., should all be adjustable in order to accommodate the widest range of employees.”
Train workers on how to use equipment
Providing adjustable furniture and equipment is only the first step in creating an ergonomically sound workstation. “A big issue that I have encountered a lot lately is employee inability to properly adjust their own office chairs,”. “
Keep your feet on the floor
One of the first questions I asks workers is whether their feet touch the floor when seated at their desk. “It sounds like an incredibly simple question,” she said, “but very often workers have their keyboard tray on the desktop, so in order to reach it, they need to jack up their chair so high that their feet can barely touch the floor.” Unless an employee’s feet are on the floor, a chair will not be able to reduce pain and discomfort.
Provide document holders
Frequently typing from hard copy can lead to neck strain if a worker is forced to repeatedly look down to the desk and back to the computer screen. I recommends providing document holders to reduce this strain. “These document holders are reasonably priced, and eliminate excessive cervical motion and help to prevent muscle imbalances,”
Make sure aisles have clear passage, drawers on file cabinets are closed and spills are immediately cleaned up. Indoor air quality problems in offices are common. Ventilation may be poor if air handling systems are poorly maintained or not operating correctly. Some people will be bothered by poor ventilation almost immediately. Others may take some time to feel effects, and still other workers may never be affected. If you have problems in your office with air quality, speak with your supervisor and report the problems.
Get a check-up with your doctor when needed. Find out if the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are routinely checked and filters are changed regularly. Poor lighting can lead to eye strain, poor posture and musculoskeletal or ergonomic injuries. Make sure that the lighting is adequate for the work you are doing.
Change the position of your desk or computer if there is too much glare. However, poorly designed workstations and inadequate lighting can both lead to poor posture and muscle strain. You need adequate lighting and good office desk setup to stay healthy. Don’t trade one for the other. If your job is in the office, take pride in your role. And take care for your safety.
Here are some solutions that companies can adopt: Buy green: Choose ENERGY STAR® qualified products, which use less energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and overall energy costs. To replace existing office equipment, many manufacturers offer trade-in programs that offer customers fair market value for their existing equipment when purchasing new technology.
Recycle: Make it easy to go green by setting up recycling bins in common areas (such as the copy room) and at individual desks. Easily drive greater reuse of aging or unwanted hardware and supplies through HP’s environmental programs and services which include one way recycling, buy back/trade-in and donation options.
Consolidate: Multifunction printers that combine printing, scanning, copying and faxing capabilities can use up to 40% less energy and materials compared to single-function products. Using a model where selective desktop, centralized workgroup and data center printing exists will reduce overall power consumption and supplies costs.
Reduce costs: Print double-sided documents whenever possible to lessen the environmental impact. Studies show that companies can save at least 25% on paper expenses by setting duplex (double-sided) printing as the default mode.
Further reduce paper waste by digitally capturing documents using a scanner or multifunction printer rather than printing out copies. Conserve resources: Reducing your office’s energy bill and conserving energy is as simple as remembering to turn off equipment when you leave a room.
Detoxify: Many offices have toxic substances, such as used batteries and copier toner, on hand. Talk to suppliers about alternatives to toxics, and make sure to properly dispose of the ones you can’t avoid using.
Make an Impact. Creating a green office is a collective effort. Get everyone involved in eco-efforts and educated on the importance of green initiatives.