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Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

There’s a consistent assumption that working in an office environment is relatively risk-free. This is almost certainly the wrong mindset to have, and there are numerous hazards that should always be considered in this most deceptive of workspaces. Thousands of work-related injuries happen every year in offices around the country, and because office workers make up a third of all employed people in the States, those injuries can have long-lasting effects on the economy. They can also put a business at risk, and if you want to minimize dangers in the workplace, then you should always place a priority on safety. These starting points are a good place to focus on when it comes to reducing the risk of hazards in your office.

Most common office accidents

There are four main incidents that can occur in the modern office, and these make up the majority of workplace injuries. They are:

  • Overexertion and strains – Lifting printer paper packages incorrectly, bad lighting leading to strained eyes, or simply sitting incorrectly for too long on even the most ergonomic chair, can all have long-lasting detrimental effects on health.
  • Falls – One of the more common injuries, these can be largely avoided by having a focus on safety. Wet Floor signs are especially useful when it comes to fall avoidance. The perils can be wide-ranging as well, from broken arms to head injuries that may end with brain injury compensation for the injured person. Always make sure that areas, where a fall is a potential outcome, are adequately highlighted and signposted, and you reduce the risk of traumatic injury.
  • Collisions – Although less common than strains and falls, collisions are still one of the more common injuries in the office. It can often be down to bad floor design or a cramped workspace, so make certain that space is given plenty of consideration when it comes to designing your safe office.
  • Being trapped – Broken doors or precariously balanced office equipment is a danger all by itself, but when someone becomes trapped it can lead to a large number of potential injuries. Again, this is all about the design of your office, and by prioritizing safety, you can reduce the possibility of trapped workers much easier than dealing with the fallout of an accident.
  • Additional concerns – While much rarer, you should also consider the dangers of spilled hot liquids, dangerous fire hazards, and have a robust assessment strategy in place to reduce high-risk electrical areas. Due to the modern changes that have transformed the office, you should also consider the possibility of environmental toxins and the ease at which disease can spread. These can cause respiratory problems that will affect work rate and job satisfaction, so ensure that your air-con and windows are sufficient to the task of keeping the atmosphere clean and comfortable.

Office managers often delegate health and safety responsibilities to other members of staff, but workplace safety should be a priority for everyone. If you spot a danger area, then it is your responsibility to bring it to the attention of those that can resolve the issues. If your office manager is dismissive, then talk to a union rep or the HR department, because your health is never as important as a job.