Office safety - common faults

It is surprising how many employees in offices consider their working environment is safe and occupational injuries are only associated with heavy industry. Nothing could be further from the truth. Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is caused by a strain on the tendons in the forearm due to prolonged use of keyboards. Visual display units can affect eyes. Sitting badly can affect peoples' backs. Paper can cut skin. Other injuries happen as well.

When did you last make an objective assessment of your office safety? Adapt work and/or workplaces to the individual. Carry out a risk assessment. See also the Risk Assessments information [PDF] (file size 273Kb).

Things to look out for

  • trailing wires
  • obstructed fire extinguishers
  • overloaded sockets
  • glare from visual display units
  • top heavy shelving
  • overcrowding
  • inadequate ventilation
  • swinging doors with no viewing panels
  • inadequate facilities for the disabled
  • trip hazards
  • badly wired plugs
  • inadequate lighting
  • filing cabinets left open
  • smoking near flammable materials
  • no first aid box
  • no safety documentation or information
  • incorrect ambient temperature
  • inadequate ventilation near the photocopying machine, etc.