Topic Office safety
Office hazards are controllable and can be eliminated
Accidents may seem unlikely in an office environment when compared to construction job sites or manufacturing plants, but an office has hazards too. Most office hazards are controllable and can be eliminated. Many office accidents happen when we take shortcuts, don’t keep things in their proper place and don’t pay attention to the task at hand.
Hazards to watch for and procedures to follow:
Avoid slips, trips and falls
- Use handrails on stairs. Never place or store items on stairs. Use caution when walking on wet floors or uneven surfaces.
- Practice “cord management.” Extension cords should never be used as permanent wiring. Wires and cords should be placed away from walkways.
- Never stand on a table, desk, boxes, or a chair when reaching for items. Use a step stool or stepladder.
- Wear appropriate footwear for the weather. Use proper travel paths such as sidewalks that are clear of snow and sanded. Don’t take shortcuts.
Practice good office ergonomics
- Place the heaviest items on shelves between knee and chest height. This reduces strain on the back and upper extremities when lifting.
- Use carts or get help when lifting and carrying heavy loads. Use proper lifting techniques. Keep items close to your body when lifting.
- At your computer, use wrist rests, foot stools and document holders when necessary.
- Adjust position and height of your computer monitor, chair, keyboard and mouse to avoid strain and fatigue. All desk materials should be easy to reach
- Avoid sustained postures and take frequent stretch breaks.
- Do not place file cabinets where people could walk into open drawers. Never work in a lower drawer with a top drawer open. Close drawers when unattended.
- Repair or replace file cabinets with damaged slides or tracks. Keep files loosely packed to prevent shoulder, arm and wrist injuries.
- Anchor shelving, cabinets or other top heavy equipment to the wall to prevent tipping.
- Make sure lighting is appropriate for tasks being performed.
- Put items away after use. Remove trash, boxes and discarded papers. Do not store items in aisles, stairways or under your desk.
- Limit personal items in your workstation. Limit clutter and keep the work area organized.
- Clean up spills immediately. Place warning signs to alert others of slippery floors when mopping.
- Never run electrical cords under carpet, through windows or doorways or fasten them to walls or other surfaces with staples or other unapproved fasteners.
- Do not overuse extension cords or multiple power strips. Never plug a power strip into another power strip or extension cord. Do not use three-prong to two-prong adapters.When not in use, turn off electrical appliances such as coffee pots, computers, photocopiers and heaters.
- Know where fire extinguishers are located and how to use them. Extinguishers should be inspected monthly to insure availability and that they will work when needed.
- Never block access to fire extinguishers and emergency exits.
- Make sure that all secondary (emergency) exits are kept clear of snow and ice and that door hardware is in working condition.
- Know of your office emergency procedures in the event of a fire, storm, workplace violence, medical problem or other emergency. Be familiar with evacuation procedures, exit routes and location of first aid supplies.