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Common office health and safety risks and how to avoid them

image shows a cluttered officeEven though the average office is a whole lot safer than say, the average construction site, there are still a fair number of health and safety risks that need to be managed. Here are some of the most common and how to avoid them.

Slips, trips, and falls

These tend to be the number one health and safety hazard in any environment and the average office is no exception. In an office environment, there are three issues which stand out as tripping hazards.

  • Cables - It’s a cliché but it’s not at all a joke. For all the world is going wireless, offices still tend to have a lot of cables in them and they need to be minimised and routed safely to stop people falling over them.
  • Liquids - Toilets and sinks need to be maintained as well as cleaned and cleaning should be undertaken with appropriate concern for wet surfaces and the potential for spillage (and ideally out of hours). There should also be easy access to materials for mopping up standard “kitchen spills” like spilt drinks.
  • Lack of flow - Many offices can grow organically rather than in a planned way and if they are planned, they can end up being planned around the needs of the IT team (i.e. where cables can be routed) rather than around sensible physical walking routes for humans. This can be difficult, but the less stuff you have in your office, the less stuff you have to find space for and the easier it can be to find space for human workers, be it to sit or to walk.

In many offices, the single, biggest way to reduce “stuff” is to get to grips with good document storage. This means digitize as much as possible (which has all kinds of benefits) and limit your paper documents to what you really need to keep on paper and what is convenient to have on paper. Implement an effective storage policy so that documents that are only used occasionally are kept in “cold storage” freeing up space for documents, which are used, and for the humans who need to access them.

Muscle strains

Desks need to be set up properly, for which read ergonomically and it may be worth choosing standard office equipment with ergonomics in mind. You certainly want to be careful about your choice of seating and about instructing people on how to adjust it to fit their height and body proportions. You will also need to be clear about the need to take breaks from screen-work to avoid eyestrain.


Cuts might not sound like they should be an issue in modern offices but when you think about it many modern offices still use many sharp objects, such as scissors, box-openers and paper-trimmers, plus there are quite a few items of stationery that can deliver nasty stings, for example, drawing pins, pushpins and staples. In some cases, the solution may be training, but in most cases, the key to avoiding accidents is to ensure that staff have clear space to work without getting into a muddle or being accidentally bumped by a colleague.


Author Bio

This article was contributed by RADS Document Storage, specialists in the storage, archiving, scanning and shredding of confidential commercial documents.

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