Common Office Safety Hazards to Watch For
When people think of dangerous workplaces, an office is probably going to be one of the last places that comes to mind. Places like warehouses, factories, construction sites and shipyards all have reputations for being dangerous, but offices? While certain types of workplaces absolutely do have more types of hazards than others, the simple fact of the matter is that any type of workplace can potentially have dangers, including offices. So what are some of the biggest safety hazards people in offices should be aware of?
Anytime people spend a lot of time sitting at desks and working at computers, it’s very important to make sure they have as much ergonomic support as possible. When people don’t have proper ergonomic support while they work, they can develop musculoskeletal injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome or cause issues like neck pain or cause pain in the neck, shoulders, and elbows. Musculoskeletal injuries are a very widespread problem in the workforce. According to OSHA, musculoskeletal disorders accounted for 33% of all worker and illness injury cases in 2013 and they’re one of the most common reported causes of lost or restricted work time.
If you take a look around an office, you might be surprised by how many things there are that could potentially cause someone to fall. Maybe some boxes are scattered around on the floor or an electrical cord runs across the floor to reach an outlet. Or maybe the entrance has water on the floor because of snow or rain being tracked inside. Do people ever need to use a ladder or a step stool to reach things? With any of these types of hazards, it’s far too easy for someone to get hurt. A distracted person might not see a box or power cord on the floor or someone just walking in through the door might not realize the entryway is wet.
One of the simplest things to do is routinely inspect the office to check for things that could be potential slip or trip hazards and make sure they are removed immediately. Or think about how hazards could be prevented in the first place. For example, you could add mats in the entryway to absorb water that gets tracked in on someone’s shoes.
Good lighting is extremely important in offices. Not only is it necessary for people to be able to clearly see potential slip or trip hazards within the main office area, it’s particularly important in stairwells and in parking lots so that people don’t fall in those areas. Good lighting is also important for overall employee wellness. Poor lighting can lead to eyestrain, which generally doesn’t cause long-term complications, but is extremely uncomfortable for people to deal with, causing problems like headaches or blurred vision.
Offices can be full of more fire hazards than you might expect. Power cords are a common sight in any office, but they can potentially get worn and damaged over time. Or maybe an extension cord has been overloaded. If an office has a kitchen area, there’s also a chance that a fire could be started in the course of everyday use. Or if an office tends to be cold, there may be space heaters placed throughout the space. In addition to all of those hazards, if a company still heavily uses paper files, that paper could provide fuel for a fire if one were to break out.
Contact a Workplace Injury Lawyer
Occupational injuries and illnesses are far too common occurrences. If you’ve been injured on the job or developed an illness as a result of your work, don’t hesitate to contact a workplace injury lawyer as soon as possible. Even if an illness or medical condition developed over time, you may still have legal options. At Goodwin & Scieszka, we’ve successfully helped many people who have been in your position. Contact us so that we can learn more about your case.
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