Your office might seem like a pretty benign place, you probably walk through its doors at least five times a week without a single worry for your safety, but I’m sorry to tell you that you are probably being very complacent.
You see, the office is the source of numerous hidden dangers, which you need to be aware of if you work in one and especially if you run your business one – nobody likes to be litigated against!
So, what are these hidden dangers and how can they be prevented?
You might think that those piles of papers and discarded office supplies or coffee cups are a bit unsightly, but you probably don’t consider them a danger, well not unless they’re left to fester and mould over. However, they could pile up and be in the way, office falls are one of the most common causes of injury in the workplace.
The good news is, it’s pretty easy to prevent the danger that clutter poses by, y’know cleaning up after oneself, setting up dedicated recycling facilities and bins in locations where they’re likely to be used and hiring a professional cleaner to keep the office as clean and tidy as it can be.
You might be wondering what possible danger cars could pose to your office, well unless they come careening off the road right through your corner office window with the lovely view, but it isn’t cars in general that you should be wary of, but those in your car park.
It’s so easy, in a lot of offices, for employees to be hit by the cars of co-workers or for cars that are unrelated to the office to get in – both can prove hazardous.
This is something that can be mitigated against by upping security measures such as installing CCTV to catch people who shouldn’t be there, erecting car park barriers, adding additional lighting and changing the layout so that there are less blind spots when employees are parking.
Of course, just being vigilant as both driver and pedestrian in the office car park will do a lot to keep its inherent dangers at bay.
Office chairs seem pretty benign, but if you come home at the end of the day with a lower-back pain that’s getting steadily worse, you could have been unwittingly harmed by yours.
You see, there are still lots of offices that don’t purchase ergonomic office chairs and furniture as standard. If you are one of them, you might want to rethink your strategy, because not only will they improve productivity by increasing staff comfort levels. But they’ll reduce pain-related sick days – it’s a win-win situation.
It might sound silly, but you’d be surprised by how many office workers end up in accidents because they collide with each other or various objects when they turn around a blind corner.
Again, this is something that you can easily solve by hanging convex mirrors in areas where this is a problem – that way everyone can see what is going on and they’re much less likely to collide as a result.
A major cause of sprained wrists, broken legs, and unfortunately, personal injury claims, is the dreaded slippery floor. The simplest solution to this very common office hazard (which admittedly isn’t quite as hidden as most of the others on this list) is to ensure that cleaning staff put up wet floor signs, but that isn’t always effective – it’s still easy to slip when you’re being careful.
So. if you have floors that are prone to getting particularly slippery (marble, tile, etc.) you might want to consider carpeting them instead. If you do, make sure that your carpet runners firmly fix the carpet ends to the floor, otherwise, they could become a major cause of trip and fall accidents too!
You might hate going anywhere near the filing cabinets in the office, not because you consider them a hazard, but because they’re usually so full of so many jumbled up documents that they can suck so much time (and life) out of you, but you probably should consider them a danger to your person, as well as your mind.
Why? Because if they’re really overstuffed and the balance is off, they could actually fall on you and that would not be pleasant!
Luckily, the only thing you need to do to ensure that your filing cabinets are safe is to affix them to the wall. Ensuring that you balance their contents evenly will help too.
Keyboards are probably pretty close to the bottom of your list of things to be concerned about in the office, but if yours isn’t set up properly so that you can keep your wrists in a neutral position when you’re typing, you could end up with repetitive strain injury!
So, if you’re an employer, invest in some ergonomic adjustment equipment, or if you’re an employee, ask your employer to do so, pointing out that it will help to keep you healthy and at work.
Oh, while we’re on the subject of keyboards, you might want to sanitize yours regularly because they are a veritable breeding ground for all manner or germs that could make you sick.
Every employee in a workplace should know how to correctly use any equipment they are asked to use and how to operate safely in the office. Unfortunately, lots of training providers do not come up to standard, and that means that accidents and injuries do occur.
The best way to stop this from happening is to only book training sessions with individuals and companies who have an excellent reputation in the field.
Okay, so when you’re at the office, you have to work, but it has been shown that if you work at a computer for more than 50 minutes per hour, you are more likely to get eye strain.
So, allow your employees/ask your employer to let you take your eyes off the screen for 10 minutes at a time. If it helps, taking more regular breaks actually improves productivity too.
Now you know which hidden dangers are lurking in your office, you can eliminate them and ensure that your workplace is as safe as any workplace can be.