An office can be a surprisingly dangerous place if the environment is not maintained as according to health and safety regulations. Employers have a duty to ensure all equipment is safely installed and properly maintained; as well as making sure all employees have safe working conditions to operate in. In this blog, we explore how to stay safe and well at work, and how to protect our health across the workplace.
What about the hidden dangers we often disregard or fail to think about?
There are numerous ‘hidden’ obstacles and unrecognised dangers that pose a real risk to the safety and well-being of staff members. They may not be immediately harmful or deadly, but remain significant nonetheless. Below you’ll find our top 3 hidden dangers in the office and our suggestions on how to avoid them!
Slips, Trips and Falls
This is the most common type of accident in the office place. Around 20’000 employees are injured because of a trip or fall almost every single year. You’re more likely to trip over in an office than many other places due to the sheer volume of hazards present.
The easiest way to avoid such an accident is to ensure your office environment is completely clutter-free and the floorspace is clear at all times. Do not allow any of your employees to stand on furniture and install carpet or skid-resistant material on your floors to avoid slipping. Most of this is common sense – if you open a drawer then make sure to close it when you’re finished.
Bacteria and Germs
How often does it feel like your entire workforce is off with the flu? All it takes is just one person to bring it into the office and within days your entire workforce is infected. Bacteria and germs are one of the leading causes of sick days and absences within the UK workforce. It is not so much the existence but the failure to clean and quarantine these germs that is the problem. Bacteria can spread between door handles, printers, desks, coffee cups, stationery, keyboards, etc.
It is impossible to completely quarantine your office from germs. In truth, doing so could have the opposite effect of what you’re hoping to achieve. A regular and comprehensive cleaning schedule, led by a team of cleaning specialists, will ensure the levels of bacteria in your office remain at a healthy and satisfactory level.
The Ergonomic Effect
The most common injuries found in an office environment can be related to ergonomic issues. Office employees spend a lot of time sat behind a desk working on a computer. In this position, people are prone to strains, pains and other injuries caused by poor posture and repetitive movement. These actions are difficult to detect before they lead to a repetitive strain injury or lower back pain.
There are several adjustments you can make to combat these issues, such as choosing the right display equipment. Providing adjustable furniture is also beneficial – such as adjustable office chairs and desks. Every employee is different and will require a different configuration to suit them. Certain tests can be put into place, like a Display Screen Equipment Assessment (DSE Assessment), to ascertain their exact needs and determine what will work best for each individual staff member. Appropriate training is also required so that staff members know how to use their adjustable features.