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Have you identified and removed these common office hazards?

by , 20 September 2013
Keeping your employees safe and healthy is just as important in an office environment as it is in a factory. That's why it's crucial you identify and remove these common office hazards...

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) applies to everywhere your employees work. This includes your office.

To protect your workers, make sure you identify and eliminate these office hazards

According to the Health&Safety Advisor, common hazards in your office include:

  • Spills
  • Cluttered aisles
  • Objects on the floor
  • Electricity
  • Fire
  • Objects stacked on shelves
  • Office furniture and equipment
  • Work stations and desks
  • Heavy objects that you need to move or lift.
  • Cleaning materials

Use this checklist to identify and remove hazards in the office.

  1. Are floor surfaces chipped and uneven?
  2. Does carpeting show worn spots or holes?
  3. Are aisles wide enough so people can move easily?
  4. Are electric, computer, printer and telephone cords where people might trip?
  5. Do electrical cords look frayed or damaged? Are they hanging our hooks or sharp edges? Do people step on them?
  6. Do electric outlet boxes on the floor placed so people can trip over them?
  7. Do you allow employees to stand on chairs and desks?
  8. Are the paper cutter, shredder and binder in a place where there's enough room to work safely?
  9. Are pencils placed in pencil holder with the points facing upwards?
  10. Are employees wearing dangling jewellery or floppy clothing when using moving machinery? For example, ties hanging down when using the shredder.
  11. Do employees run in the office?
  12. Do employees lean far back in their chairs?
  13. If an employee spills liquid (for example, tea or water) while carrying it through the offices, do they clean up the spills properly?
  14. Are scissors, knives and other sharp objects safely stored and used?
  15. Are stairs well lit?
  16. Are stair handrails secure, easy to hold and at a comfortable height?
  17. Are there non-slip surfaces on the stairs?
  18. Are the stairways free of litter?
  19. Are desk or file drawers left open?
  20. Are furniture and fixtures free of splinters or sharp edges?
  21. Is furniture with castors easy to move?
  22. Is more than one file drawer open at once?
  23. Are files top heavy, with empty drawers at the bottom and full drawers on top?
  24. Are boxes, papers and books stored safely on top of files and storage cabinet?
  25. Are boxes, papers and books stored less than 45 centimeters from the ceiling?
  26. Is there adequate space under the desk or workstation for an employee to take cover in the event of an emergency?
  27. Are glass doors marked so they can be seen?
  28. Are fire exits clearly marked and free of obstructions?
  29. Are all smoking restrictions followed?
  30. Do employees know where the fire exits are?
  31. Are designated employees trained to use fire extinguishers?
  32. Are employees instructed in fire reporting and emergency duties?
  33. Are flammable materials stored in metal cabinets?
  34. Are storage areas kept clean and tidy?
  35. Are heating elements (coffee makers, urns, kettles, heaters) safely placed and inspected regularly?
  36. Are fire drills conducted twice a year?
  37. Are multiplugs plugged into other multiplugs?
  38. Have employees been shown how to lift things properly?
  39. Are all accidents reported promptly?
  40. Do employees know to whom to report accidents?
  41. Is the first aid box adequately stocked?
  42. Is there a trained first aider on duty at all times?
  43. Do people know what to do if they are stuck in the lift?
  44. Do people know not to use lifts during an emergency?
  45. Are there notices on lift landing advising people not to use lifts during an emergency?
  46. Are evacuation maps placed at strategic points in the office?

It's crucial you have a plan of action for every answer in this checklist.

Place these action plans on the agenda for your health and safety committee meeting in order of priority. Your priority order should reflect the risk of the problem identified.

In addition, do inspections at least once a month using the checklist above.



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