Whether you’re the boss or an employee, workplace safety is a big deal. It impacts the quality of life, healthcare costs, efficiency and office morale, just to name a few. Here are a few office workplace safety tips that can make a difference for your company.
Be ergonomically sound.
Office environments are often overlooked in workplace safety conversations because there aren’t the obvious physical risks associated with, say, construction. And that’s true; the chances of injury are less. But there are also challenges that are unique to an office. The need for ergonomically sound habits at the desk is foremost among them.
If you’re the employer, it’s simply not realistic to give everyone the same sized desk and computer and to ask them to make do. It makes as much sense as giving everyone the same sized clothing to wear. Everybody is different and the angle at which a person types and views a computer monitor has a significant impact on their health. Especially with the back: an injury that’s traceable to bad ergonomics means workers’ compensation will have to step in.
For employees, there are steps you can take to manage yourself at the computer. Walk away periodically to give your eyes a rest. Don’t worry—even if you’re busy, you’ll be surprised at how much more efficiently you work when given a chance to breathe.
Walk with care.
A collision between 2 people coming around a corner is a common source of office injuries, particularly given the likelihood that at least one person is probably carrying something. We’re not suggesting you have to tiptoe up to every corner and carefully peek around before continuing. But don’t be in a mad rush, something that makes a collision more likely and more painful when it does happen. Take your time and walk at a deliberate pace.
Maintain clear lines of vision.
This is related to the point above and it will fall on the shoulders of the employer. Do what you can to structure the office in a way that reduces the risk for people turning corners. An obvious example would be to avoid putting a filing cabinet right around a corner—all it takes is one person to accidentally leave it open, another person to ram into it and you’ve got a workers’ comp claim on your hands. Management can also take steps to put mirrors near the corners so as to increase vision.
Have a healthy company culture.
Management can make a big difference by creating an environment where employees aren’t in a frenzied rush to jam as many tasks as possible into the day. Hurried people get careless more easily and carelessness leads to injuries. For employees, they can work at a steady pace—procrastination also leads to later frenzy. And both sides can realize the most important thing for everyone is to go home safely at the end of the day.