What do you think of when you think of the office? No, we’re not talking about the TV show.
Chances are, whatever you imagined, you didn’t imagine workplace hazards. But the truth is, offices have just as many workplace hazards as any other workplace. They just take different forms.
With that in mind, here are three essential tips on workplace safety for office workers.
1. Practice Ergonomics
Office workers who spend their days at a desk may think that they’re not at risk of physical injuries. In reality, sitting all day leaves them with just as many potential ergonomic issues as workers who spend their days lifting heavy loads. For this reason, good ergonomics is essential to a long and comfortable career.
At a desk, maintaining neutral posture is essential to staying comfortable. That means your head is centered over your neck and shoulders, your wrists are flat, and your elbows rest comfortably at your sides. Keep in mind that most desk spaces are not necessarily constructed ergonomically. You may need to make changes to become ergonomic – don’t be afraid to make adjustments.
For more tips on ergonomics, check out the following resources:
2.Take Regular Breaks to Move Around
That said, even a neutral posture can become uncomfortable after an extended period. Like any other posture held for an extended period, sitting all day can weaken your muscles, reduce blood flow, and increase your risk of musculoskeletal disorders, among other long-term health effects.
The best way to counter this is by breaking up your sitting time. Take regular breaks to get up and move around. Ideally, you should take a break every 30 minutes or so.
The easiest way to do this is to keep a water bottle at your desk and drink it throughout the day. That way, you have a built-in timer to get up and move around when you go to the bathroom and refill your water bottle. Doing this, you get your circulation going and you drink more water throughout the day – a win-win situation.
3. Keep Your Workspace Tidy
As the cliche goes, cleanliness is akin to godliness. Or, in this case, cleanliness is akin to safety.
In many cases, good housekeeping can prevent many of the most common office hazards. Cords, for example, pose a tripping hazard if they criss-cross across the floor, so make sure to run cords where no one will trip on them.
Similarly, all hallways and aisles should be kept clean and clear of clutter. This helps maintain a sanitary work environment, reduce the risk of tripping hazards, and ensure that emergency exit routes are not blocked.
Need More Tips on Workplace Safety for Office Workers?
Office workers don’t tend to conjure up an image of danger. But while office workers may not face the hazards of construction workers or miners, the cumulative effects of working in an office can still be harmful in the long term. As an EHS professional, it’s your job to keep all of your workers safe – even if they don’t seem to be in that much risk. We’re here to help.
And if you need more tips on workplace safety for office workers (and shameless references to your favorite TV show) check out these safety tips inspired by The Office.