Office work is far safer than working in the construction field, but that doesn’t mean that there are not dangers of working in an office. A person may be sitting behind a desk answering phones, but there are plenty of opportunities to become injured.
In fact, office falls are twice as likely to cause a debilitating injury than a fall anywhere else.
“Approximately 75 percent of workplace accidents are preceded by one or more near-misses that never get reported to supervisors or managers, so preventive measures are never taken,” claims Jason D. Mills & Associates.
Preventing injuries is key to employee safety.
Knowing which accidents are most common will be able to lower the amount of accidents in the workplace dramatically. If a workplace has older workers, even a simple fall can lead to broken bones or a head injury.
Lowering the risk of accidents should start with the following tips:
1. Chairs are Not Ladders
Yes, chairs are not ladders. A surprising number of office workers have stepped on top of rolling chairs only to go flying off in the process. The worker may get lucky and suffer no injuries in the process.
The worker may also break a leg, arm or suffer from a head injury.
Ladders are only meant to be climbed on in the office. Even a simple step ladder in the cafeteria can make a huge difference.
2. Trips and Falls
A person in an office is 2-2.5 times as likely to trip and fall in an office than someone that works in a non-office setting. It’s easy to be forgetful in an office, and there are ample opportunities to trip and fall.
People in offices often trip on:
- Loose carpeting
- Electrical wires
- Open desks
- Chair legs
- Open file drawers
Offices should have policies in place that require chairs to be pushed in, walkways clear and inspections for common hazards. A good idea is to also listen to employee recommendations or concerns.
Office workers may notice a hazard that management doesn’t notice.
Preventing trips and falls will be one of the best things an office can do to prevent injuries from occurring.
3. Slips and Falls
Slips and falls are also common. The key to preventing slips is signage, and there should be rules in place where signage must be present if there are leaks or slippery flooring. The goal is to alert the office worker of the potential hazard.
Employees should always look before they walk into any space, but signage can definitely help lower the risks of a slip and fall.
4. Lifting Injuries
Proper lifting techniques should be taught to office staff. A lot of people will bend at the hips, lifting heavy objects without bending their knees. This is a recipe for disaster and will lead to back injury.
When lifting, employees should:
- Squat to the floor and use their legs to lift the object
- Keep backs straight the entire time
- Avoid any twisting or jerking motion
The back should not be used for lifting – use your legs instead. Also, employees should not try to lift objects from their chairs, especially if the chair is on wheels. Instead, the employee should leave their chairs, squat down and pick up the object.
If employees and management follow these basic rules, the office will be far safer.