When you compare the hazards of working in an office to those of working in heavy industry, they don't seem like much.
The fact is, people do get seriously injured and even die in office accidents. To prevent office accidents, it is important to regularly inspect the premises for hazardous conditions. You must be aware of unsafe work practices which can cause injuries.
Follow this checklist to make your office safer:
- Traffic areas should be free of obstacles which can cause tripping accidents. Extension cords and boxes of files are two common hazards.
- Close drawers and doors of desks and cabinets. You can be seriously injured by tripping over a bottom drawer, and you can suffer severe cuts and bruises by bumping into an overhead door.
- Load filing cabinets safely. Fill from bottom to top. A filing cabinet filled at the top and empty on the bottom can tip over and crush somebody.
- Lift objects and loads correctly to avoid back injuries. Crouch down close to the item before attempting a lift. Bend your legs, not your back, when lifting. Get help from another person or use a hand truck if the item is too heavy or awkward to lift alone. Serious back injuries have occurred from incorrectly lifting furniture, a box of printer paper or even smaller items.
- Practice fire prevention. Do not allow combustible materials including paper and cardboard to accumulate in your work area. Don't store them near a fire exit, in a hallway or stairwell.
- Learn what to do in a fire or other emergency. Know where at least two emergency exits are from your work area. Make sure you can find your way to the stairs; don't use the elevator. Learn the location of fire alarms and fire extinguishers.
- Learn who is trained in first aid and CPR (CardioPulmonary Resuscitation) in your work area, and the location of first aid supplies. While you are at it, sign up to train in these life-saving skills.
- Make sure all office furniture is in good repair, especially chairs. Defective chairs should be removed from the area and not left around for extra seating.
- Arrange your workstation for comfort and to prevent muscle strain caused by excessive stretching or bending. Place frequently used materials and equipment within reach. Position your computer, keyboard and mouse so you can work with comfort and good posture. Keep your forearms and wrists straight.
- Check regularly for electrical hazards such as worn insulation and connections, altered or patched cords, or plugs and overloaded circuits. If you ever receive an electrical shock, report it immediately so the equipment can be removed from service before someone is electrocuted.
Office safety is serious business. Accidents in the office have resulted in deaths and disabling injuries. Inspect your office workspace today to make sure it is as safe as it can be!