As Margie walks up the office stairs where she works, she has no idea what awaits her. The floor at the top of the stairs has just been mopped and there is no warning sign cautioning her about a slick floor. As she reaches the top of the stairs she slips on the wet floor and falls down the flight of steps. Margie is left with a swollen ankle, impaired mobility and her future may include further operations to fuse her ankle. She receives a substantial sum in compensation after requiring three operations on her ankle.
Just because you spend your days in an office instead of a warehouse or manufacturing plant, doesn’t mean that you are completely shielded from hazards and potential on the job injuries. Offices are filled with people, and people are prone to mistakes that can lead to minor or severe accidents.
Falls take the lead as the most common office accident, accounting for the greatest number of disabling injuries. Some of the most common causes of office falls include tripping over an open desk or file drawer, bending while seated in an unstable chair and tripping over electrical cords or wires. Office falls are also frequently caused by slipping on wet floors or using a chair or stack of boxes in place of a ladder. Loose carpeting, objects stored in halls or walkways and inadequate lighting also invite accidental falls. Fortunately, all of these fall hazards are preventable.
- Clean up or report spills immediately.
- Clear pathways before you walk and pay attention where you walk.
- Wear stable shoes with non-slip soles.
- Secure electrical cords and wires away from walkways.
- Close drawers completely after every use.
- Avoid excessive bending, twisting and leaning backward while seated.
- Use a stepladder for overhead reaching. Never use chairs as ladders.
- Pick up objects others leave on the floor.
- Report loose carpeting or damaged flooring.
- Never carry anything that obscures your vision.
Create a workplace safety inspection checklist for your office so you know what to look for and fix. Also train your employees not only in regards to being safe in the workplace, but to know what safety and health regulations require. There are no specific safety and health standards that apply specifically to office safety. Use common sense in keeping your employees safe and following ALL the standards.
And remember…Recognize when employees are doing it right. Because a thumbs up is encouragement to the soul!