Usually, when you think about dangerous jobs and job-related accidents and injuries, you think of industrial setting and factories. That's where you see workers wearing hard hats and steel-toed work boots.
But today we're here to talk about a different kind of environment - the office. You may not think of office areas as danger zones, but there are a surprising number of hazards even in this type of setting. In fact, a lot of the safety principles that apply on the factory floor carry over into the office area.
As with any type of accident prevention program, office safety first requires that we all recognize the hazards that exist.
Electrical hazards, for example, are often easy to spot if you're alert. Extension cords can be a major problem because they can lead to overloaded outlets. If you must use an extension cord, be sure that it's powerful enough to handle the equipment you're plugging in. Also, be sure that it's in good shape and that you don't create another kind of hazard by running the cord under a rug or through a high-traffic area. Some general electrical safety rug or through a high-traffic area. Some general electrical safety reminders include:
Avoid overloading outlets.
Always match plugs and outlets, making sure to never force a three-prong plug into a two-prong outlet.
Check for worn or frayed cords and have them replaced immediately.
Never place cords near heat or water.
Never use electrical equipment when your hands or the equipment are wet.
Report any potential electrical problems.
Let's move on to slips, trips and falls. The classic tripping hazard in an office is the open bottom file drawer. It sounds so simple, but please keep drawers closed.
Also pay attention to slippery surfaces. This can be a problem in the entrance areas, especially in bad weather when people have tracked in rain or snow. But also be on the lookout for spills and for areas that may have just been mopped or waxed. Another common tripping hazard is loose or torn carpet.
Chairs can be dangerous as well. Be especially careful if you use a chair on wheels. Sitting too far forward can be just as dangerous as leaning too far back.
Back injuries can be a result of a slip or fall, but they also come from improper lifting. Always bend at the knees, not the back. Lift with your legs and don't try to lift more than you can safely handle.
One final area of concern is hazardous chemicals. While this is certainly not a big problem in an office environment, it is still important. We don't have many hazardous chemicals, but you may come in contact with some. (Discuss specific chemical you may have in your work area)
Again, pay attention and read the labels so your are aware of any possible danger.
Keep in mind that good housekeeping can do a lot to keep the office safe. This means, if you drop it, pick it up. If you use it, put it back. Good housekeeping prevents aisles, stairwells, and hallways from getting cluttered. The result? Less chance of a fire and fewer falls, cuts, and bruises.
Finally, let's just use common sense and continue to communicate. If you see a problem, please correct it or report it immediately to someone who can. I know the office is not the most hazardous work environment in the world, but accidents can happen. I just don't want them to happen to you.