Developing any Health and Safety System, Safe Work Practices, Procedure or Hazard Assessment can be a daunting task. We have put together a list of 6 hazards that occur in almost any office setting that should be monitored and managed within the system that you are putting together.
1) Fire Hazards
Cords should never overload the outlets. Using extension cords improperly and overloading them are the most common causes of fires. Cords should never be used if the third prong or grounding plug has be damaged or removed. Power cords should be inspected regularly for ware and be replaced if they are frayed or have exposed wire.
2) Slips, Trips and Falls
Uneven floor surfaces, lose cables, wet floors, etc. are easily the most common cause of injuries in the workplace. Employers have to fork over large compensation dollars to cover the cost of the injuries that could easily be prevented if safety regulations and hazard assessment systems are followed properly. It’s the responsibility of the employers to make sure that employees are working in a safe environment.
Of course accidents happen, but there are simple steps that can be taken to ensure the safety of employees, such as having near miss reports, cleaning up spills right away, putting equipment back properly, improving lighting, insuring that the employees wear proper PPE like non-slip footwear and always being aware of your surroundings.
Skin irritation, disfiguring burns, eye injuries or blindness can all be caused by chemical hazards.
All these things can be prevent by being prepared. Always wear proper PPE when doing certain tasks. Putting chemicals away properly and in the right spot. Most importantly, knowing where your business keeps the MSDS books and eyewash station is important and must be included in your company system.
4) Ergonomic Injuries
Employees working in an office setting spend many hours a day seated at a desk, working away on the computer, and in may cases, causing in ergonomic strains and other injuries relating to posture and repetitive movements.
Within your H&S System it is important to include procedures too prevent these types of injuries. (such as how to adjust a chair properly, or how to prevent eye strain and fatigue)
Fatigue is caused by long periods of physical and/or mental exertions without enough rest to recover. Mostly brought on by long shifts, excessive workloads, working nights, etc. By the end of a long work day, some fatigue is normal but too much of it can become extremely hazardous.
Employers should have a plan in place to help prevent fatigue by shift rotations, reducing long hours and having their employees take proper breaks.
6) Indoor Air Quality
Poor indoor air quality has contributed to a rise in asthma complications and other repertory disorders. Reasons for poor quality air could be due to inadequate ventilation systems; office overcrowding; the presence of chemicals; water damage and mold growth; too much or too little humidity; not checking your office furnace or HVAC filter regularly; and poor housekeeping which leads to dirty work environments.
All these things can greatly reduce by proper maintenance, cleaning and filtration of the ventilation, heating and air conditioning systems. These should be monitored within your company H&S System.