Recognizing the Hazards in the Office

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You might think that an office building is the last place where workplace safety issues arise. What can go wrong when you’ve minimized your strenuous activities, sit in a climate-controlled building with no heavy machinery or equipment in the vicinity? Surprisingly, there are a large number of hazards present in an office setting. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 80,410 private-industry office and administrative workers suffered on-the-job injuries in 2008. Many of these injuries could have been prevented had workers or supervisors recognized the risks and implemented simple workplace modifications to help mitigate them.

Top 3 Areas of Concern

  1. Falls - Slips, trips and falls, the most common type of office injury. Several hazards contribute to these injuries, although most can be significantly reduced, often by raising awareness among employees. In other words, stay clutter-free and keep materials safely stored out of walkways.

  2. Struck/caught by - According to the CDC, office workers are often struck by objects, bump into objects themselves, or get caught in or between objects, and as a result, are injured. Some typical contributors to the danger zones include poor office layouts, inattention, and poor housekeeping. Take a look around your office and remove the potential for objects falling from cabinet tops, doors opening unexpectedly, and cabinets that fall over if not properly balanced.

  3. Ergonomics injuries – Since office workers spend the most of their day seated at a desk and working on a computer, they are prone to strains and other injuries related to posture and repetitive movement. Remember, one size does not fit all in office workstations. Explore the benefits of adjustable workstations and make sure that your employees know how to use it. Keep their feet on the floor and their mouse beside the keyboard.