The office is one of the most common workplace environments in today’s economy. Advances in technology has contributed to more desk-related jobs in the US and more people sitting for long periods. While there are obvious safety concerns in jobs and work-sites that involve machinery, equipment, and manual labor, there are job related hazards to be aware of with office settings too. Some of these hazards may not be as obvious because most offices had modern day conveniences, they are still present and we need to be aware of potential concerns.
One of the most common causes of injury in an office is falls. In addition, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 65% of injuries relating to falls occur from falls at the same-level as walking surfaces. This means that most falls happen without being elevated on an object, such as a ladder. Elevated falls are often more serious causing "bruises, hip fractures, or head injuries.” However, with the high number of same-level falls, it is important to evaluate our working environment to eliminate tripping and fall hazards.
Safety and Health Magazine offers some simple to follow tips for preventing "slips, trips and falls” in the office:
- Stay clutter-free – it is easy for things to pile up on our desk and then spill over to other surfaces in our office, like the floor. It is important to properly store materials to prevent "build up” that can clutter walkways in the office.
- Step on up – a common fall hazard is standing on chairs to reach for something above. Best practice is to use a stepladder placed on a level, firm surface. If the item one is reaching for is particularly high, and a tall ladder is used, it is best to have someone else present to secure the ladder and watch for other safety concerns.
- Maintain a clear line of vision – many turns around hallways and corners can cause collisions in the office. Mirrors are commonly used to help reduce the risk of running into another person.
- Get a grip – surfaces in halls and office spaces should be evaluated for risk of falls. Skid-resistant flooring can help prevent slips and falls in the office. Carpet is a common, skid-resistant, surface.
Prevention is easier to accommodate and implement than trying to fix a problem after it has occurred. Think through office issues you may deal with and how falls and other hazards can be prevented. Involve coworkers so everyone understands safety concerns and how to make the office as safe as possible.
One Team. One Vision. One Goal. – Everyone Goes Home Safe!