Most people are aware of the hazards and potential dangers associated with working on a construction site or other high risk areas. But what is less known is that the most common employment injuries can just as easily occur in a staid office environment as they can on a building site with cranes, graders and heavy equipment. In fact the top five workplace hazards can occur anytime, anywhere.
If you have been injured in the office or other work environment, you might be entitled to some compensation or support from your employer or a work cover provider. If so, there may be value in a conversation with a law firm that specialises in compensation claims like Turner Freeman – they can provide informed advice on how to proceed. In the meantime, here are the top five hazards to be aware of in the workplace.
Falling, Tripping Over Or Being Hit By Dropping Objects
Sometimes the most obvious hazards are the hardest to see. Keep a look out for boxes and other items stored on shelves at heights or somewhere around the office floor. Often offices don’t have enough storage space and as a result items are squeezed into cupboards and onto shelves where they don’t belong. Be aware of them and don’t let them fall on your head or get under feet.
This has always been and remains one of the greatest risks in every office or workplace environment. There are all manner of equipment and materials used in the modern workplace just waiting to make a spark and burst into flames – from heavy construction equipment and welders to photocopiers and the humble toaster. Always be fire aware in your workplace – have a fire emergency plan, ensure all staff are aware of it and put it into practice. This isn’t just a good idea, it’s the law.
Following closely on the heels of fire, and often related to workplace injuries, are electrical hazards. While the risks to people who work directly with electricity and electrical equipment are obvious, the humble office worker can also be at risk. Equipment that isn’t core to business requirements such as microwave ovens, toasters and electric jugs are often overlooked in regular safety audits. As a result these appliances get old and any faults can go unnoticed until it is too late. Similarly, having too many electrical appliances plugged into one outlet or power board is a disaster in the making.
Another common source of injury in both the office and construction site environment is chemicals – or more specifically, poorly stored chemicals. Today a wide variety of chemicals are used in construction, manufacturing and for cleaning purposes. They are usually gaseous, flammable, corrosive and toxic. The results can be fatal if they leak or are allowed to accidently mix. Always make sure any chemicals, even store-bought cleaning materials, are securely stored and used safely.
Repetitive Strain Injury
Make sure employees whose work requires them to repeat the same manual actions throughout the day take adequate breaks to avoid reparative strain injury or RSI. Injury can occur when doing repetitive or highly complicated tasks. Take something as simple as washing windows – the repetitive movement can affect the workers’ backs, shoulders, forearms wrists and hands. Regularly scheduled breaks can reduce the chance of injury.
Workplace hazards are everywhere and might be overlooked if the employer doesn’t take due care and attention. Set safety guidelines in place and make sure all employees follow them. It will go a long way to reducing the risks in your workplace.