Is Your Workplace a Potential Hazard?

construction2Do you regularly inspect your office for safety? With the Small Business Administration (SBA) estimating that more than 3 million Americans are injured at work each year, it’s a good idea to take steps to keep your office safe and sound.

As well as the trauma to the sufferer, an injury can cost you money and put your valuable staff members out of action. Should a client be injured you could find yourself facing a law suit.

Make office safety a priority with periodic inspections to make sure the working environment is safe for everyone who uses it.

So just what should you be on the lookout for?

Here are some key areas to get you started…

Keep It Clean and Clear

Clutter, spills and obstructions are among some of the hazards you need to be aware of in an office environment. Piles of books, bags left in walkways, or spills not cleaned up can all cause employees to trip, slip or fall.

As well as clearing the clutter and making sure spills are dealt with, take a look at walkways and through routes.

Your employees should be able to get from A to B without navigating obstructions. Consider mirrors at blind corners in corridors to cut down collisions.

Check Structural Integrity

As the article “How to Spot Common Material Defects” points out, it’s vital that you check the structural integrity of your building. Be on the lookout for damage to the roof, bulges or cracks in walls, or cracks in the foundation.

If you spot any structural problems, don’t delay – get a professional in to have a look before it gets worse.

Beware of Storage and Stacking

Storage and stacking can both cause serious health hazards. Do employees have to bend or stretch to reach commonly needed items? Are things stored in a way that encourages bad lifting habits? Are employees standing on lower shelves or office chairs to reach things?

It’s not just storage above or below head height that’s dangerous – stacks of boxes or items can topple over, causing injuries. Review your storage and sure all items are stored safely, with commonly used items easily accessible.

Encourage your employees to use safe practices when retrieving any item from storage, and provide stable steps for the times when they have to retrieve something from a high shelf.

Provide a Healthy Environment

You can help to reduce injuries and sickness in the office by providing a healthy environment for your employees.

A healthy environment is one which is well ventilated, heated to a comfortable level for each season, and where there is good light to see by.

Make the most of natural light where you can, and provide task lamps for close work, to prevent employees from straining their eyes.

Keep your office at a pleasant ambient temperature. Lastly, be aware of jarring noises or distractions and do your best to minimize them.

Think Ergonomics

Injuries such as back problems, repetitive strain, vision problems and carpal tunnel are all very real dangers for office workers.

Poor ergonomics can contribute to these injuries. You can help to prevent such injuries by assessing the ergonomics of your office.

For example, make sure that employees have adjustable chairs so they can find their comfort zone. Use risers for computer monitors, provide document holders, and make sure each mouse is positioned beside the keyboard, not up on the desk.

Making a regular effort to ensure your office is safe and sound will benefit your employees and visitors, and lessen the risk of time lost to injuries.

Be sure to provide proper training to get your whole team on board.

About the Author: Tristan Anwyn is an author who writes on a range of topics including social media, SEO that works, and how to create a safe working environment.