An office can seem like a safe place to work compared to an industrial work environment, however, many serious accidents and injuries occur on a regular basis in offices everywhere. Slips, trips and falls are one of the most common causes of workplace injuries. They can occur anywhere, whether you are in the production area or in the office.
Office workers can be injured by falls, fires and electric shock, receive cuts and bruises from office tools and furniture and can develop long-term injuries from repetitive work such as keyboarding.
SAFE WORK PRACTICES
- Watch for obstructions which can cause tripping accidents. Cords and cables should not be placed across traffic areas. Even cords going to a power bar located next to a work station can trip a person getting up from the desk.
- Materials should be stored in designated storage areas, not in boxes on the floor.
- Briefcases, handbags and other personal items should be stored where no one will fall over them.
- Keep drawers of desks and cabinets closed.
- Clean up any spills, such as coffee or water, right way. If a spill cannot be taken care of immediately, arrange a barricade and a sign to warn people. Floors which are wet from cleaning should also be blocked off and marked by warning signs.
- Load file cabinets from the bottom up. Serious accidents have occurred when top-heavy filing cabinets have fallen over.
- Use safe lifting techniques. It is just as easy to receive a back injury in the office as it is in the warehouse. To pick up a heavy item, squat down beside it. Use the strength in your legs, not your back, to raise it up. Bend your knees, not your back.
- Store sharp implements such as scissors, and letter openers separately from other items to prevent cuts and puncture wounds.
- Be alert to electrical hazards which can cause fires and electrocution. Check for any frayed or damaged cords or plugs. Electrical repairs should be made only by qualified personnel.
- Don’t overload electrical circuits. Extension cords are meant to be used only temporarily, so make sure the area is wired adequately for all of the electronic equipment such as computers, copiers and printers. Breakers which trip frequently are a sign of overloaded circuits.
- Don’t use makeshift scaffolds such as a chair balanced on a desk when you are reaching for something overhead. Take the time to get a stepladder or stepstool.
Repetitive strain injuries are increasingly common in offices. When doing work such as computer keyboarding, keep your hands and wrists straight and relaxed. Frequently switch to other tasks to give your hands a rest.
PROPER OFFICE ERGONOMIC SET UP
Office Furniture Positioning
- Ensure your chair fits correctly. There should be 2 inches between the front edge of the seat and the back of your knees. Ideally, the chair should have a lumbar support.
- Sit with your knees at approximately a 90 to 110 degree angle. Using an angled foot rest to support your feet may help you sit more comfortably.
- Your elbows and hips should be at 90 degree angles.
- Position your computer monitor so the top of the screen is at eye level, with adequate lighting and no glare.
- Keep your wrists in the neutral position, not angled up or down, while you type. Your mouse should be positioned in close proximity to the keyboard to avoid over reaching.
Employee Movement (Stretching)
Stretching is a key element to a healthy life style in the office or at home. Here are some example of stretches that may be done during work or at home.
- We need to get up and move during the day, at least every couple of hours. It is as simple as standing in place and reaching for the sky or standing and touching your toes.
- Take frequent short breaks (micro-breaks) every 20-40 minutes for at least 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Stretching is so important for our bodies and mind to relax. We shall see results over time as we become more productive with a well-rested and stretched body.