Health and Safety News

Occupational health and safety news and guidance

Health and safety in the office; what are you missing?

Photo shows people working in an officeThe emphasis on health & safety is now such an important aspect of our society. Governments, companies and local services all place our safety as one of their top priorities. But when it comes to safety in the work place it’s down to the employer and the health & safety trained to keep the work place safe, but what can we, as individuals do to contribute to a safer work space?

Sure, when we think of health & safety at work, we often think about building sites with heavy machinery and the prospect of falling debris, but there are more dangers in the office environment than one might think.

Slips, trips & falls

The most common type of health & safety issue is slips, trips and falls. According the British Safety Council, you’re 2.5 times more likely to suffer this type of injury in an office than in any other work place.

So how are the hazards avoided?


Walkways should always be kept completely clear, there is a tendency in many offices to pile boxes, files and all sorts in the walkways for convenience. However this is a big fire hazard as well as anything else, so it’s important that all office supplies are stored away correctly.

Step ladders:

Changing a light bulb? Re-fitting a loose ceiling tile? Office chairs on wheels are dangerous to stand on, and can cause considerable injury should someone fall from one. A properly secured step-ladder should be purchased and stored away for such instances.

Getting hit by or stuck in something

The second most common type of injury in the office comes when people are being hit by objects or catching hands and fingers in something.

So how are the hazards avoided?

Shut doors & drawers:

Overfilling filing cabinets is a big no-no. As space becomes a premium there is always a temptation to overfill and this can often lead to desks and cabinets tipping over if they have not been secured. Bottom drawers on cabinets and desks can also pose a tripping hazard.

Careful storage:

Heavy equipment should be as close to the floor as physically possible, overloading shelves and storage units present a very real danger.


We tend to forget that office workers are statistically at a real risk of physical injury and fatigue. Because office workers spend the bulk of the day sitting behind a desk, they are at risk of strains and injuries relating to posture, the eyes and repetitive movements.

So, how are the hazards avoided?

Customisable work space:

Things like chairs, computer monitors and work surfaces, should all be suited to the individual or at least moveable to give the employee some options.

Back ache, sickness and repetitive strain injuries, can all be caused if the worker is unable to change or move around properly.

Train workers on equipment:

It sounds too obvious, but it’s essential to train workers on the correct way to set up their workstation (including placement of the office chair, monitor etc.) to suit every individual person, this way it doesn’t cause back ache or eye-strain due to an incorrect working position.

Education is the most powerful tool when it comes to health & safety. However education can only go so far, it also about common sense. Stand back and think, ‘Should I put this here?’ or instead of standing on an office chair, use a step ladder.

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