July - More Aspects of Office Safety
More Aspects of Office Safety
Changes are continually being made in all office type environments. These changes are brought on by new office technologies and the automation of office equipment. With these changes, there is a whole new set of health and safety concerns. We have discussed the normal office safety hazards in the past such as slippery floors, poor lighting, noises, and poorly designed furniture. The nature of office work itself has produced several stress-related symptoms and muscoskeletal strains. Long hours at poorly designed office furniture can cause headaches, backaches, and pain in the neck and shoulders, all of which usually results in tension and irritability. However, the leading types of disabling accidents occurring in the office are the result of slips, trips and falls, and getting caught between objects, or getting hit by an object.
The disabling rate of falls among office workers is 2.0 to 2.5 times greater than that of non-office workers. Falls usually occur by tripping over open desk drawers or file drawers, or on electrical cords lying on the floor. Another common cause is using a chair for a stepladder, slipping on wet floors, or stumbling over loose carpeting or broken tiles. Following are some tips that help stop a fall before it happens,
- Make sure that pathways inside and outside the building are clear.
- Always close all drawers after their use.
- Avoid excessive twisting and bending when seated.
- Secure all electrical cords and wires and move them out of walkways.
- Use a stepladder instead of boxes or chairs. The investment is cheap compared to the consequences.
- Keep floors clean of unkempt objects or articles that can cause a trip or fall.
- Report loose carpeting or broken tiles or flooring.
In sports, we were all taught to roll when we feel a fall coming on. Try to roll on your side in a tight stance as opposed to falling flat, you can usually absorb some of the impact and end up with a bruise instead of a broken limb.
STRAINS AND OVEREXERTIONS
Typically office type work doesn't require heavy lifting. However, small loads can wreak havoc on your back as easily as the large ones, if handled incorrectly. Before lifting, survey the situation and decide if the load is too heavy to handle alone. How far do I have to carry it or how high to I have to lift it? Lifting improperly or too much isn't the way to impress anyone!
When lifting any load, you should take a balanced stance with the feet the width of the shoulders and squat instead of bending over. Let your legs do the work instead of the back. Use your hands to grip and not just your fingers. Don't twist when lifting. If you must turn, use your whole body with your feet turning first. Be sure that your load doesn't block your vision. When you get ready to set the load down, use the same mechanics that you used to pick up the load.
Good work habits can relive fatigue and make the day go more easily and more enjoyable. Some techniques to use in making the work less tiring are to:
- Adjust the blinds or drapes to increase or reduce the sunlight, whichever is needed.
- Change the monitor positions to remove glare or to ease eye fatigue.
- Try to vary your tasks to avoid long periods of the same activity when possible.
- Try to get up and move around occasionally to rest your eyes and body from fatigue.
- Try to maintain a comfortable work body temperature by adjusting your mode of clothing.
We all have to work, unfortunately, but we can ease the fatigue by using some of the tips that we discussed above and it will make our days go by more enjoyable and with less fatigue.
Ted Gordon is the Risk Management/Loss Control Manager for the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. His office is located in the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center, in Verona, MS. His telephone number is 662-566-2201.