Georgia Workers Compensation Attorneys Announce 25 Methods To Improving Office Safety
Dangers lurk no matter where you are employed. Accordingly, your employer has a duty to keep you safe at work. Workplace safety is not relegated to construction sites only. Offices, restaurants, and every other conceivable workplace must be safe for employees to the extent allowed by the job itself. Some jobs have risks inherent in the profession, and the employer is not liable to completely protect an employee from those. However, employers must take steps to make sure that work environments do not endanger the people who work there.
The National Safety Council reports that most of the injuries suffered in an office environment are from employees falling, being struck by falling objects, or ergonomic injuries. There are methods to avoid each category of injury. To avoid falls, employers should:
- Remove all clutter from the workspace. This helps prevent tripping on item ranging from boxes to extension cords.
- Provide step ladders, equipped with appropriate warnings, for employees in the event they need to reach above their heads. Providing step ladders will discourage employees from climbing on chairs or desks to reach something.
- Take measures to avoid collisions. Serpentine hallways or cubicle corrals can create blind spots. Installing mirrors will help prevent employees from colliding with one another.
- Use carpeting and other slip-preventing materials. Floors covered with linoleum or tile can be very slippery, especially when wet.
- To decrease or prevent employees from getting struck by an item, employers can implement the following suggestions:
- Make certain that file drawers are closed. Filing system can tip over on top of an employee if not properly secured. Open drawers can also be tripping hazards if low to the floor.
- Stack items appropriately with the heaviest on the floor and lighter on top. Stacks will not fall as easily if stacked in that fashion.
Ergonomic injuries are highly prevalent in office spaces. Failing to recognize the potential for ergonomic injuries and taking measures to prevent or reduce them can be a costly mistake for an employer. To reduce ergonomic injuries, an employer should:
- Provide employees with adjustable equipment;
- Train employees on how to use office equipment;
- Encourage employees to keep their feet on the floor to reduce pain associated with sitting;
- Use document holders to prop up items when typing from an original document; and
- Teach correct computer mouse placement by using the mouse tray instead of the desktop.
Another common problem found in the office is deteriorating vision. To help ease vision problems, employers can:
- Reduce use of overhead lights in favor of desk lamps;
- Position computer monitors about two feet away from the employee’s eyes;
- Reducing or eliminating screen glare;
- Instruct employees to obtain the proper eyeglass prescription designed for computer use in an office;
- Teach employees to increase font size when reading on a computer; and
- Encourage employees to take a ten-minute break from the computer every hour.
Fire safety is also critically important in an office environment. Employers should consider:
- Replacing damaged or frayed power cords;
- Inspecting employees’ space heaters;
- Making sure sprinkler systems are tested and unblocked;
- Ensuring all escape routes are open and uncluttered;
Office administrators can reduce employee injuries by implementing a safety program in the office. The administrators can:
- Walk through the office to look for hazards;
- Pay attention to workers and their posture and intervene when necessary to prevent ergonomic injuries;
- Talk to employees about their concerns; and
- Establish a hazard reporting system and immediately address the employee’s concerns.