Employers should take office hazards into serious consideration to protect the health and safety of office workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in the private sector during 2015. Apparently, the more staff a company has, the higher the rate of injuries and illnesses.
Know the Problems at Your Workplace
Statistically speaking, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration projected that employers pay almost $1 billion weekly for workers’ compensation costs. To avoid contributing to unnecessary costs as a result of office hazards, employers must implement necessary procedures, such as identifying hazard prone areas.
Next, you should assess the risk levels of hazard-prone areas and take measures to reduce the risk. In addition, start an online reporting system to encourage employees to voice any safety concerns in the office and to conduct training sessions on how to avoid injuries at work.
Needless to say, it’s necessary to monitor and review your safety checklist so your hazard control measures remain effective. Higher initial costs incurred for taking precautions against hazards can be compensated in the long run with fewer accidents or illness in the workplace.
Overlooked Areas That May Cause Safety Hazards
When conducting a safety audit of your office, keep an eye out for these commonly overlooked areas that could pose hazards to your employees:
- Cluttered walkways – Piled up boxes in walkways or emergency exit routes can create a safety hazard or impede movement in an emergency. Such materials should be removed or stored in a proper location.
- Slippery floors – Consider carpeting floors to reduce falls at entrance ways, passageways or on stairs. These areas tend to be the most likely places for trips and falls to occur when the floor is wet and slippery.
- Dangling or scattered power cords – To prevent trips and falls as well as to minimize electrical hazards, ensure that power cords:
- are inspected regularly for wear;
- are replaced if they’re frayed or have exposed wire;
- don’t overload power outlets; and
- are properly secured and covered.
- Poor air quality – Poor air quality due to inadequate ventilation systems and dust accumulation can cause respiratory issues and allergies. To minimize such risks, ensure that the carpets are vacuumed regularly to prevent the accumulation of dust, pollen and dirt and that ventilation or heating and air conditioning systems are properly cleaned and maintained.
- Haphazard storage systems – Open file drawers and cabinet doors may cause accidents. Minimize such risks by reminding staff to close all storage drawers and doors after filing or taking files away. Heavy files should be placed on the bottom shelves of filing cabinets to avoid back injuries when lifting.
Undeniably, early intervention works best within the workplace. In short, it’s best to act upon a potential hazard before they cause injury. Your efforts in reducing or eliminating office hazards will translate to a huge reduction of lost productivity and absenteeism and, in turn, massive long-term savings for your company.
Emmie Sahlan has a graduate degree in English and has been writing professionally for the past five years. Her niche areas are insurance, credit cards, personal finance and education.