When working in an office environment, it may seem like a fairly safe workplace, with few dangers to employees.
However, there are a variety of health and safety risks in the office which can cause accidents and injuries – and being aware of these is the first step to carrying out a risk assessment and solving these issues.
Here, we explore some of the main health and safety risks you might encounter in the office, so you can begin to address them.
Improper Desk and Screen Setup
It might not seem that a desk or screen could be a risk for employees, however, an improper desk and screen setup can cause serious health issues.
Having a desk that does not have an ergonomic set-up, and a screen that is too low, too high, or too close to your eyes, can cause physical and eye strain, especially over long periods of time.
Ensuring that chairs are at an appropriate height for the desk is also essential, as a chair being improperly positioned can cause spinal problems or even carpal tunnel syndrome.
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Unhealthy Working Practices
A major health and safety risk in an office is unhealthy working practices.
Employees who stay at their desks without taking breaks have an increased risk of stress and burnout, as well as physical problems like eye strain from exposure to excessive blue light from screens.
If employees do not take breaks to stretch and get away from their desks, then these risks can result in more sick days and even high employee turnover.
Working environments where cables, cords, and equipment are not properly stored can result in tripping hazards.
This can cause personal injuries but will also damage electrical items over time.
Keeping items in front of doorways or in areas where employees walk can also prove to be a fire safety hazard, creating a potentially disastrous situation in the future.
Outdated or Ill-Maintained Equipment
It can be easy to lose track of when certain office equipment is purchased, especially when it comes to computers and other electrical devices.
However, keeping outdated equipment in an office environment can create fire hazards, as well as personal safety hazards.
Employees can suffer from electric shocks from frayed cables or older items that might not comply with current safety standards and expectations.
When new equipment is introduced, not training employees properly on how to use this could also create a risk.
A Lack of Training and Awareness
One of the invisible health and safety risks in the workplace is a lack of training for employees.
If you do not have employees who are adequately trained in basic health and safety procedures, then this means accidents can be more likely to happen.
Not only that, but it can be challenging to de-escalate potentially hazardous situations – such as fires or injuries.
The Advantages of Improving Your Office Health and Safety
Addressing and improving your health and safety in the office can have both immediate and long-term benefits.
Immediately, you can remove tripping hazards and create a better working environment for your employees.
Taking a longer view, you will meet health and safety compliance expectations and will be less likely to suffer from legal consequences if accidents do happen in the future.
An office and company with a good track record of health and safety, and robust training practices, will be more likely to attract high-value potential employees and encourage a better public reputation.
It can also reduce financial losses and employee turnover, creating a more productive and consistent workplace culture.
If you want to illuminate risks in your own office and update your health and safety procedures, then taking a closer look at your space is a great first step.
Working with a professional health and safety consultancy can help you to create the best strategy for your workplace, so get in touch to discuss your requirements.