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Showing posts with label Office Safety. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Office Safety. Show all posts

Office Safety : Office hazards are controllable and can be eliminated

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.
General Safety
  • 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.
Practice good housekeeping
  • 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.
Understand fire safety and emergency plans
  • 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.
Office settings are typically safe work environments. However, when we take shortcuts, allow poor housekeeping or don’t pay attention to the task at hand injuries can happen.

Office Safety : Tips to Prevent Slip and Fall Accidents at the Office

Topic : Office Safety

Tips to Prevent Slip and Fall Accidents at the Office

It's officially springtime, which means increased rainfall for seasonal climates. Although temperatures are warming up, the characteristic rainy weather can be detrimental to slick lobby floors.
Corporate offices designed with tiles or hardwoods are especially susceptible to hidden puddles from dripping coats and umbrellas. Sometimes, a modern office aesthetic mixed with inclement weather results in workplace falls and injuries.

During this period many employees report falls, slips, and trips incidents which involves sprains, strains, and tears, and back injuries.

Rather than remodel or incur costly medical bills, consider implementing the following strategies to keep employees attentive and unharmed at work.

Educate on Safe Practices

The best way to prevent slips is through encouragement and awareness. Employees are more vulnerable to accidents when rushing in and out of the office. Practice a relaxed schedule that allows employees to work eight-hour days at their leisure, within reasonable time constraints. For instance, some employers authorize workers to come in any time before 9 a.m., as long as they work a full eight-hour workday. Clock-in flexibility discourages employees from rushing on foot and also diminishes the probability for traffic accidents during the morning commute.

Promote Weather Awareness

In a regularly rainy or snowy climate, residents are conditioned to expect slick lobby floors. However, sending out an email for an impending storm is always appreciated. Employees can prepare adequately with the proper waterproof gear and rubber-soled footwear. High heels don't suffice in slippery conditions. If your office enforces a strict dress code, provide cubbies or lockers for employees to store their outerwear each morning.

Equip Your Office

Weather-related puddles are more obvious and avoidable with the appropriate signage. Facility managers should post caution flags to warn employees of potentially hazardous floors. Further, preventative equipment can eradicate slippery messes before they occur. Commercial floor mats help soak up incoming rainwater from shoes and outerwear. Some offices may choose to install umbrella stands, which encase wet umbrellas with protective coverings before they have a chance to create further perils throughout the office. Regardless of your facility size, employees appreciate services designed to keep them safe.

Address Accidents

Don't ignore an accident after it occurs, regardless of the extent of related injuries. Although documenting each minor mishap is somewhat overzealous, seemingly small incidents can prove serious over time. For instance, an employee who falls on her back and recovers quickly might encounter hindering medical issues down the road, possibly making desk work painful. A life-threatening head injury could surface hours after a slip and potentially pose life-threatening risks if not addressed immediately. Err on the side of caution at all times. Even if an employee seems OK, it's best for him, and your business, that he consult a medical professional as soon as possible. Aside from providing the appropriate medical attention to employees who have fallen, let associates know of incidents without naming names. Providing real-life examples motivates co-workers to take facility safety seriously.

Accidents happen, and not every weather-related puddle or spilled mess can be addressed immediately. Observing the aforementioned practices and installing safety products is part of proper facility management and is your best plan of action for a healthy, happy workplace -- no matter the forecast.

Office Safety : Ten Often-ignored Office Hazards

Topic : Office Safety 

Ten Often-ignored Office Hazards

Image result for Ten Often-ignored Office HazardsWhen most people think about industrial safety, the images that come to mind are of massive machinery in factories, the inherent dangers of construction sites, or the destructive potential of power tools.

By comparison, office environments would appear to be safe havens, but that’s actually not the case. Tens of thousands of office workers suffer injuries or work-related health problems that lead to lost time every year. While the potential for injury may not be as dramatic as on a factory floor or a major construction site, it can be every bit as costly to employers. And the safety-related strategies that have been proven to be successful in industrial settings are just as applicable when it comes to preventing lost-time issues in the office. In this article, we’ll review the greatest hazards and practical strategies for keeping injuries and illnesses to a minimum.

Slipping and falling
If you don’t believe that slipping, tripping, and falling are big issues in offices, consider that the National Safety Council has reported that people are two and half times more likely to have a disabling fall in an office environment than in any other part of the workplace. In fact, slips, falls, and trips are the single most common source of office injuries and nearly all are preventable 

Image result for Ten Often-ignored Office Hazards
One of the biggest factors in this type of injury is workers using improper ways to reach objects in high places. Often, they’ll climb on office chairs that roll out from under them. Employees who need to access objects on high shelves or in tall cabinets should use stepladders (and remember never to climb higher than what’s indicated on the ladder). Desks, tables, and other types of furniture are unsafe substitutes for ladders.

Another major factor in trips and falls is wiring that runs through or near traffic areas. Any wiring that is not permanently installed should be protected so that workers’ feet won’t become entangled.

Finally, flooring choices pay a key role in slips and falls. Upturned edges on carpets or mats invite tripping. Surfaces such as tile and terrazzo can become slick when wet or dusty. In addition to proper cleaning, the use of mats at exterior doors will keep workers and visitors from tracking in rain and snow that can contribute to slippery conditions.

Collisions and obstacles 
Another contributor to trips and falls is the clutter that can be found next to desks, in hallways, inside storage areas, and anywhere else that seems to be “out of the way.” A worker who is focused on a task may not look down and notice the hazard in time to prevent a fall. File and desk drawers that are left open are also ready to injure unsuspecting workers.

Even the workers themselves can be a hazard. Blind corners or cubicle walls may prevent workers from seeing each other as they emerge into hallways or other common areas. Placing convex mirrors at such intersections can minimize this type of collision.
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Misusing equipment
We’ve already mentioned the dangers of using office chairs as stepstools, but chairs can also be dangerous in several other ways. Wheeled chairs are usually designed for small movements in a limited area. Racing across wide areas invites the possibility of collisions or tripping over obstacles. Leaning back on a wheeled chair may cause it to flip over.

Chairs and desks wear out just like any other types of equipment, but companies are often reluctant to replace them when they do. However, broken or missing casters and other parts can make a chair or desk dangerously unstable. To prevent accidents caused by damaged equipment, it should be inspected regularly, and any deficiencies should be repaired or replaced immediately.

Time-saving office tools can also cause injuries when used carelessly or incorrectly. Blades on paper cutters are extremely sharp and can cause serious injuries to an unwary user. Scissors or sharpened pencils that are stored without thought can puncture a worker who reaches into a drawer. Cuts and punctures must be treated properly to reduce the chance of infections.

Stacking and lifting
Stacking file boxes and other materials can be convenient, but it can also create a significant hazard in the office. If an employee bumps into the stack, it can topple over and fall on someone. Stacking materials also increases the likelihood that an employee will lift or retrieve the materials incorrectly, leading to sprain or stain-type injury.

For that reason, it’s important to store materials properly, and to ensure that they are not placed so high that they present a hazard. Once again, if employees have to access something in a high location, they should use an appropriate ladder for the task. Heavy objects should always be stored on or near the floor, so they’re less likely to fall on a worker’s foot.

Repetitive stressors
Thanks to technology, workers are less physically active that they were in past generations. Many office jobs involve eight hours in front of a computer screen and little movement beyond manipulating a mouse. While that has done wonders for productivity, it’s also led to a dramatic increase in injuries related to repetitive movement and other ergonomic factors. Complicating the issue is the fact that many of those injuries are cumulative over time and not easy to detect on a day-to-day basis.

The key to avoiding the injuries is to take a proactive approach. Investing in equipment that provides the proper ergonomics and training employees on how to use it correctly will do more than merely reduce lost-time injuries -- it can improve morale and productivity. Don’t give in to the temptation to buy office chairs and desks by price alone, because you may end up paying far more down the road when workers lose weeks for treatment of injuries.

Poor lighting
Office lighting may not seem to be a hazard, but it can be a significant contributor to a host of hazards and illnesses. An obvious issue is inadequate lighting that conceals hazards. Poor lighting in hallways and storage rooms is an example.

But one of the less recognized issues related to office lighting involves the areas in which tasks are being performed. Poor lighting in offices can contribute to vision problems such as eyestrain and related headaches in the short term, and impaired vision if the problem remains uncorrected. It can also be a factor in increased worker stress, which may reduce productivity and increase susceptibility to illness. Poorly designed office lighting also creates shadows and glare. Some vision experts recommend less reliance on bright overhead lights and a greater use of task lighting at each workstation.

Image result for Ten Often-ignored Office Hazards - poor lighting
Computer screens are a major source of vision-related problems. Placing monitors slightly below eye level and about two feet from workers’ faces can reduce eyestrain, as can eliminating sources of glare and using larger fonts on the screen. Many optometrists are now recommending special glasses for frequent computer users. However, one of the best weapons against eyestrain is also one of the simplest: following OSHA’s guideline to take 10 minutes away from the screen for every hour spent in front of it.

Noise pollution
Offices can be surprisingly noisy places. Even though the noise levels workers encounter typically aren’t intense enough to cause hearing loss, they can be a key contributor to stress and detract from morale.

Designing offices to separate workers from noisy equipment such as printers and ventilation equipment can help. In addition, increasing the distance between workstations or using noise-absorbing materials such as cubicle walls, carpeting, and acoustic tile can also lower the volume.

Fire hazards
Offices contain more fire hazards than most managers realize. In addition, beyond the potential for injuries and death, office fires can destroy valuable documents and equipment, so preventing against fires should be a high priority. Many materials used in offices are highly combustible, and some emit toxic fumes when burning.

Managers should conduct regular inspections to identify fire hazards and ways to minimize them. That can include everything from checking all the cords that are plugged into electrical outlets to making sure that fire extinguishers are easily accessible. Electrical defects are a primary cause of office fires, so pay particular attention to the integrity of extension cords and wiring, and make sure that electrical equipment (especially space heaters) is not dangerously close to combustible items.

Employee training is also critical. How many workers in your office have received training in the basic use of fire extinguishers? While that type of training is a normal requirement for construction and manufacturing workers, it’s rare for companies to expect the same from their office staff.

Safe egress
In the event of an emergency, workers must be able to exit the office immediately and safely. That’s why it’s important to make sure that fire doors and escape routes don’t become blocked by furniture or boxes. Emergency exits should also be properly marked, and all employees should know where the nearest exit can be found.

Few companies run regular fire drills to ensure that employees know the safest ways to exit in case of an emergency, or where to congregate once outside so that managers can conduct an accurate headcount. Taking the time to do so at least twice a year could save lives in the event of an emergency.

Environmental toxins 
As companies and building managers have worked to reduce energy costs, office buildings have become much “tighter,” with fewer opportunities for air to seep in and out. At the same time, workers are being exposed to a wide range of potentially toxic substances, ranging from chemicals outgassed by flooring and furniture to the toner used in copiers.

It’s important to ensure that there is adequate ventilation to provide workers with fresh air and correct humidity levels throughout their shifts, and to minimize the hazards presented by chemicals. Just as construction sites display Material Safety Data Sheets for the hazardous chemicals workers may encounter, offices need to make sure that workers are informed about such materials.

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