You may think that offices are a fairly low risk environment for injury, and most of the time you are probably right. However, it is amazing how easy it can be to have an accident in the workplace if you do not take basic safety precautions. Here are five surprising issues you could encounter from not adhering to simple office health and safety regulations.
Did you know that between 2010 and 2011, around 7.6 million working days were lost because of work-related back pain and other musculoskeletal issues? Poor working posture is one of the most common causes of this condition, and there are a number of different factors that contribute towards this. The way you sit in your seat, the position of your computer screen, the height of your chair, the position of your keyboard and your mouse position are all factors that can affect your back. So make sure you sit up straight and arrange your equipment for maximum comfort.
Electrical shocks may sound unlikely in an office environment, but a high percentage of all shocks actually happen in the workplace. Consequently, it is the responsibility of the employer to make sure that staff are not at risk of electric shocks from poorly maintained or damaged electrical sockets or equipment. To abide by legal obligations, you will need to get regular PAT testing carried out on all portable appliances- this means anything with a plug. PAT testing does not take long, and it can help prevent burns, muscle spasms and even death from things like faulty wiring and overloaded sockets.
Burning is a very real risk in every workplace setting, as are scalds caused by a hot liquid. In order to minimise risk of burns there are some simple steps you can take. You and your staff should always practise good housekeeping- this means clearing up mess behind you and not leaving any debris scattered around work stations or communal areas. In addition, hot equipment should be kept away from flammable furnishings. Both of these things will prevent a fire from breaking out unexpectedly. In addition, you should ensure that your fire safety procedure is completely up to date so that your employees know what to do in case of an emergency.
In the last few years there have been a number of outbreaks of Legionnaire’s disease in the UK, some of which resulted in death. The disease is caused by a rod-shaped bacteria found in soil and water, and it thrives in places like water cooling towers where the surroundings are warm and damp. Legionnaire’s disease is like pneumonia, and can be caught by inhaling mist from a contaminated water source. In order to prevent your staff from developing the condition, you need to ensure you follow your legal obligations to get your water supply regularly tested.
Finally, the most common of workplace hazards are slips and trips. Last year, over 10,000 workers suffered from a serious injury because of falling over in the workplace. Luckily there are some really easy ways to minimise the risk of injuries like sprained ankles or broken limbs. Simple good housekeeping is your first port of call, making sure that cables are kept neat and tidy and that there are no obstructions in public areas. Any wet floors should be clearly marked with a sign, lighting should be regularly maintained, and any rugs or carpets should be firmly adhered to the floor. By preventing slips and trips you could help protect your staff from a serious injury.