Offices are often considered to be “low risk” when it comes to workplace hazards. After all, there aren’t big ladders or challenging pieces of machinery to contend with (unless you’d put the permanently jammed printer in that category!).
However, as with any workplace, hazards still need to be considered, monitored, and controlled to reduce the risk of an incident.
4 Most Common Office Hazards
- Slips, trips, and handling
Poor housekeeping, training, and disorganised office spaces can lead to trips and falls over wiring, clutter or wet floors. It can also result in people injuring their backs by carrying objects inappropriately.
- Work stations and ergonomics
Badly designed workstations with poor lighting, unadjustable furniture, excessive screen exposure, and repetitive movement can lead to aches, pains, and various long-term health issues. For example, desk items should be within easy reach, as injury can happen by simply overreaching continually to get to your phone.
- Stress and sickness
Workdays lost to sickness and mental health can be a huge cost to the business, and personally, for your staff. A lack of cleanliness or poorly managed work pressures can open the doors for these kinds of consequences.
- Environmental toxins and fire
Poor air quality, chemical exposure, inadequate emergency procedures, and noise pollution can result in anything from increased stress levels and cases of asthma to full-blown fires.
How to Mitigate the Risks
It’s impossible to eradicate all workplace risks but there are a number of things you, as the employer, should do to minimise the possibility of an accident happening:
“All health and safety hazards, once identified, need to be risk assessed and controlled. To do this you need to determine the likelihood of the risks causing serious injury and, based on the assessment, put control measures in place to reduce or eliminate the risks. After implementing control measures, it’s essential that you monitor and review them to ensure they remain effective.” (Health and Safety Handbook)
Thorough staff training, regular one-on-one meetings, and comprehensive employee surveys can also be critical when it comes to preventing and addressing potential risk factors.
How do you keep your employees safe? What action steps will you take to optimise your workspace?
Have a look at our bespoke collection of workplace health and safety products to get a head start now.