It’s fairly obvious that safety and health hazards can exist on worksites filled with heavy machinery and equipment, where employees often are required to engage in strenuous manual labor. However, there are surprisingly a number of hazards that can be present in a job where most of the work tasks are completed while sitting in a chair in a climate-controlled office building!
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.
A friend witnessed an incident in an establishment one Saturday where one meeting participant almost gave up the ghost… Other participants had no competence and response actions to manage the situation which led to the unfortunate death of the employee.
This leads to the question, how are you configured and organized to address OH & S risk involving a customer or an external service provider on your premises?
Here are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of injury among your office staff.
- Ergonomics injuries
Perhaps the most prevalent injuries in an office setting are related to ergonomics. Because office workers spend the bulk 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. The following steps below can help prevent such injuries;
- Provide adjustable equipment
- Train workers on how to use equipment
- Keep your feet on the floor
- Provide document holders
- Fall/Struck/caught by injuries
Another major type of injury in the office setting comes from workers being struck by or caught by an object and also involved in Slips, trips and falls. Incidents of this nature accounted for 15,680 injuries in 2008, according to BLS. So;
Ensure drawers are shut properly and Ensure Safe stacking of heavy materials especially
- Vision problems
Spending a large portion of your workday at the computer can cause eyestrain. The eyes can become dry and irritated, and workers may begin having trouble focusing. A few work area adjustments below can help alleviate some of these issues;
- Dim the lights and use task lamps
- Correctly position monitors
- Minimize screen glare
- Wear the right glasses
- Increase font size on computer
- Take a break
- Administrative controls
In addition to employee training and improved equipment, certain administrative controls can aid hazard recognition and the elimination of potentially dangerous situations;
- Implement the ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Management System
- Conduct walk-throughs
- Monitor signs of musculoskeletal disorders
- Talk to employees about their concerns
- Establish employee reporting systems
Succinctly, with the newly published ISO 45001, a Standard on occupational health and safety risk management which contains requirements if implemented and committed to, a progressive organization will be effectively equipped to reduce and manage its OH&S risk.
*Partly culled from National Safety Council Site*