Offices are deceptive when it comes to safety. They look much safer than they really are. Many office workers receive injuries and permanent disabilities in accidents each year.
While many different kinds of accidents contribute to office injuries, falls cause the most. Typically these falls are caused by slipping and tripping.
Follow these guidelines to prevent falls in the office:
Keep offices tidy and free of clutter. Boxes of materials and supplies should be stacked away from traffic areas. Clean up any spills immediately, and keep garbage off the floor.
Cords and cables from electrical equipment and phones should be routed away from traffic areas. If they must cross traffic routes, tape them down or use special ducts made for this purpose.
Keep chairs and stools in good repair. Damaged chairs should be removed from service so they will not be used inadvertently.
Keep the drawers of desks and filing cabinets closed so no one will trip over them.
Report slipping and tripping hazards such as spills and loose flooring.
Use stepladders and stepstools if you have to climb. Never use makeshift climbing devices such as stacked boxes or chairs on desks.
Here are some suggestions for preventing fire injuries and deaths in offices:
Know how to find and use fire extinguishers. Different extinguishers are used for different kinds of fires.
Know how to locate emergency phone numbers, such as those for the fire department. Know the evacuation procedures for your work area.
Back injuries from incorrect lifting account for a surprising number of days lost from work in offices. Here are some tips for correct lifting:
Plan your lift first. Make sure you can handle the load alone, or get help from another person or a device such as a hand truck. Don’t try to lift heavy awkward loads alone and get help moving things such as office furniture and equipment.
Get close to the load before you try to move it. Bend at your knees rather than your back to pick it up.
Do not twist your back. If you must turn, move your feet around instead.
Filing cabinets can be deadly. Follow these tips for safety:
Load the cabinet from the bottom up. If you fill the top drawer first, the cabinet may fall over.
Open just one drawer at a time. Opening more than one drawer may cause the cabinet to fall.
Never stack filing cabinets on top of one another — even small ones. It is too easy to pull the top cabinet over on yourself.
These are ways to prevent just a few of the hazards to be found in offices. Use the same kind of safety sense you would in any other work situation to prevent office accidents.