You might thing that working in an office isn't a dangerous job, and that the only hazard you might come into contact with is workplace politics or office gossip. Did you know that there can be plenty of hazards within your office? With so many health and safety hazards around, it is important to stay safe whilst working in an office.
Common hazards in the office
There are lots of hazards to be aware of around your office – being aware of them can help you to avoid them.
- An untidy office
- Faulty equipment
- Wet floors
- Overloaded shelves
- Poor lighting
- Unsuitable office equipment
My experience of office hazards
I am lucky enough to now work from my home office (there's a tour of it below!) but prior to that, I have worked in a variety of offices throughout my career. Using Accident Advice Helpline's office hazard finder, it is easy to think back to dangerous hazards in my previous offices.
One of the worst offenders was when I worked for a small start up company. We occupied the top floor in a building – downstairs was occupied by a factory/production line. With only two employees, I was often left alone when my colleague was on work trips or working from home.
The factory would end their working day earlier than mine, and they would lock the downstairs door – leaving just a fire escape for me to leave the office by.
Which would be fine, except the fire escape was very slippery, without the correct grips. If it rained, or snowed, they became a death trap. At the bottom of the stairs was a massive concrete step. It actually made me really anxious every day just before it was time to leave, knowing I'd have to risk those stairs. Often whilst carrying a laptop bag in addition to my hand bag.
There are plenty of other office hazards in an office.
How to avoid hazards at the office
Knowing how to avoid hazards at your office means that you can reduce the risk of sustaining an injury.
Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is very common in office workers, and you can get specially designed keyboards and a computer mouse to help with RSI.
Eye strain is a common complaint within an office environment, with computer screens and poor lighting to blame. Accident Advice Helpline suggest a few fixes to help. First of all, make sure that your desk or your working area are well lit; adjust your computer's display settings and minimise any glares (on walls as well as reflections on your computer screen).
Every year, many people are injured from being trapped by something overturning or falling on them. Accident Advice Helpline suggest that you avoid these risks by never over stacking shelves, making sure that the shelves can support the weight and placing lighter items at the top of a shelf with heavier ones at the bottom.
My office tour
I absolutely love my home office, here is a tour: