6 Ways to Protect Yourself in the Office

Working in an office might seem like a perfectly safe and secure environment, but it is filled with many hazards that could affect your health and safety onsite.

While your employer has a responsibility to create a safe working environment for every member of staff, you also must be aware of the potential dangers to avoid an injury or illness. Here are six ways to protect yourself in the office.

1 Prevent Slip and Trip Hazards

Your average office will be filled with many potential slip and trip hazards, which every member of staff must be mindful of to maintain a safe working environment.

Common health and safety risks include:

  • Obstructed walkways
  • Damaged carpets and edging strips
  • Slippery tiled flooring
  • Trailing cables
  • Uneven flooring that causes drawers to unintentionally open

It’s therefore important to become more aware of your environment when walking from A to B across the office.

2 Suitable Workstations

Every business should provide their staff with configurable workstations to suit individual needs. Unsuitable workstations could potentially cause poor posture, which might lead to the development of a long-term musculoskeletal condition. If in doubt, ask your manager for an anti-glare screen, foot rest, or an ergonomic chair.

3 Take Action Against Work-Related Stress

While slip hazards and poor equipment that can impact your physical health, work-related stress can affect your mental health. Symptoms can include headaches, nausea, insomnia, hair loss, panic attacks, and irritability.

Common causes of work-related stress can include:

  • Being bullied at work
  • Inadequate training
  • Physical, emotional or sexual harassment by a colleague or customer
  • Unrealistic deadlines
  • Unfair monitoring or scrutiny
  • An excessive workload

Due to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, every business owner has a responsibility to minimise work-related stress. If you believe your employer has failed to do so, find out more about stress at work claims.

4 Illness Prevention

Sadly, an office environment can serve as a haven for germs and bacteria. If a colleague develops a cold or virus, you can guarantee it will start to circulate across the office in no time at all.

If you want to ensure you’re not stuck in bed with an illness, you must aim to create an infection-free environment. For example, keep equipment sterile with antibacterial desk wipes, wash your hands after using the bathroom, and regularly use hand sanitiser.

5 Appropriately Reach Objects at Height

Office workers tend to embark on improper methods to reach objects at height. For example, they might be tempted to climb onto an office chair, table or another form of furniture to reach a box or file in a tall cabinet or on a high shelf. Avoid injury by using a stepladder – and never climb higher than the indicated ladder step.

6 Don’t Misuse Office Equipment

It’s also essential not to misuse office equipment, which could cause an injury. For example, avoid racing across an office on wheeled chairs, which might lead to unfortunate collisions or a trip hazard. Also, avoid leaning back on a chair, which could cause it to flip over and could lead to a head injury.

a modern office with furniture and computers

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