How Do You Keep Your Office Injury Free?

office injury

Most people don’t think of office environments as high-risk workplaces, yet they contain health and safety hazards that can lead to serious office injury. The first step is to identify the hazards. After which, carry out risk assessments and implement your control measures.  Finally, train employees to identify hazards and use the correct control measures. This will reduce the likelihood of an office injury occurring.

The most common hazards in an office environment include:

  • Slip and trip hazards
  • Poor ergonomics
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Office cleanliness

For this article, we review the Safe Work Australia Code of Practice Managing the Work Environment and Facilities to unpick the key hazards and provide strategies to reduce the likelihood of an office injury.

Keeping Your Work Areas Slip and Trip Free

Employees need to be able to move about the work area freely, without strain or injury and also evacuate quickly in case of an emergency. Space is important around aisles, passages and workstations.

Floor surfaces should have enough grip to prevent slipping, especially in areas that may become wet or contaminated. Common examples of hazards include trailing cables, uneven edges or broken surfaces, gratings or covers, loose mats or carpet tiles. Floors and other surfaces, such as mezzanines or platforms that people may walk on, must be strong enough to support loads placed on them.

See our short training course, Slips and Trips.

Determining the Best Workstation

There should be a mix of seated and standing tasks. Employees should avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time. Office seating should:

  • provide good body support, especially for the lower back
  • provide foot support, preferably with both feet flat on the floor, otherwise, a footrest should be provided, and
  • allow space for leg clearance and freedom of movement.

Chairs should be fully adjustable to accommodate different-sized people with seat height, backrest height and backrest tilt adjustments and should not tip or slip.

See our short training course on Ergonomics that will help you set up your workstation to avoid sprain and strain injuries.

Providing Adequate Lighting

Lighting is important. Different lighting levels may be needed for different times of the day. Too much lighting can result in glare and too little lighting can result in office injury. To prevent low or excessive levels of lighting:

  • provide extra lighting, such as a lamp on a movable arm
  • change the position of existing lights
  • change the location of the workstation
  • increase or decrease the number of lights
  • change the type of lighting used for example from white light to blue light
  • change the diffusers or reflectors on existing lights, and
  • use screens, visors, shields, hoods, curtains, blinds or external louvres to reduce reflections, shadows and glare.

Keep the Office Clean and Tidy

Untidiness can lead to office injury, in particular injuries resulting from slips and trips, therefore good housekeeping practices are essential. For example:

  • spills on floors should be cleaned up immediately
  • walkways should be kept clear of obstructions
  • work materials should be neatly stored, and
  • waste should be regularly removed.

Regular hand washing is an essential part of office cleanliness and handwashing facilities must be provided to enable workers to maintain a good standard of personal hygiene. Employees need to wash their hands at different times, for example after visiting the toilet, before and after eating meals, after handling chemicals or handling greasy machinery.

Safety Training Specifically for the Office

With 50% of Australian workers having jobs in an office, it’s important to not overlook the hazards in this environment in your health and safety training.

The Tap into Safety Platform has an Office Safety training course to train employees to recognise the most common hazards in their work environment and teach the control measures to address these risks.

Using 360-degree panoramic technology the employee moves around a typical office environment spotting hazards and risky behaviours. For each hazard, employees are trained on the correct way to work around the hazard and mitigate the risk. This is followed by an assessment of the employee’s knowledge of the correct control measures to address each hazard.

Employees can complete this training course in under 15 minutes. Access to the Tap into Safety training platform is available via a single URL that allows them to be easily integrated with your existing training system.

With our flexible per-use ‘credits’ model pricing, you simply pay for what you use, or you can talk to us about our annual unlimited use plans, based on employee numbers. Either way, you have immediate access to the entire library.

If you are interested in trying the office safety course, or any of our other courses please contact us today free demonstration.

Ergonomics for the Office

One area to hone in on to reduce long-term musculoskeletal strain on muscles and joints is ergonomics.

It’s very important to set up the workstation so that it is ergonomically friendly and doesn’t place a strain on our bodies. Poorly set-up workspaces place stress on our joints.

The Tap into Safety platform also has a microlearning ergonomics course that trains step-by-step how to set up a desk, monitor, keyboard and mouse, chair and footrest to provide ergonomically friendly workspaces.

The course provides measurements of how to place equipment, discusses lighting requirements and the importance of taking regular breaks to stretch and reduce sitting time.

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