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Posted February 6, 2019
Offices may not seem like dangerous places to work, but they can pose serious health and safety risks.
Employers have a legal responsibility to protect their staff’s health, safety and welfare and it is in everyone’s interests – employers and staff – to recognise the risks and take steps to protect themselves and their colleagues.
What to look out for in the office:
Misuse of furniture:
Workers are often injured using desks or chairs with wheels as substitute stepladders. Employers and workers should always use an appropriate step-ladder when they need to reach for something.
Floor surfaces are among the most common causes of slips, trips and falls in the office. Upturned edges of carpets, slippery tiles and messy work areas can all lead to accidents. Employers can limit the risk by ensuring the upturned edges of carpets and rugs are flattened with tape and identified, work areas are uncluttered and if the floor is wet, display a wet floor sign.
Poor workstation setup:
Not having your workstation appropriately set up is one of the main causes of aches, pains and bad posture among office workers. Computer screens should be positioned at eye-level and chairs appropriately adjusted. Workers should flag any damaged or broken equipment to their supervisors or health and safety representatives to prevent an accident from happening. They should also raise any concerns they have, or an injury that’s caused by their workstations to their employer.
Offices present numerous fire hazards. It is an employer’s responsibility to check all office cables and leads are plugged in properly and do not have electrical defects that could cause a fire. They should also ensure everyone in the office knows what to do in the event of a fire by testing alarms and practicing evacuation procedures.
Lack of storage:
Files stacked high, drawers left open and papers on the floor are all accidents waiting to happen. It is everyone’s responsibility to make sure their workstations are kept tidy, which means keeping desks and work areas clean and uncluttered.
Not only can inadequate lighting increase a worker’s risk of tripping and falling over objects in the office, but it can also cause eye-strain, migraines and headaches. It is an employer’s responsibility to assess the office’s lighting, ensuring all lights are fitted properly and that they don’t cause glare on the computer screens.
Healthscreen has the ability and expertise to offer DSE assessments to your office staff workstations. Assessments allow us to evaluate the situation in its entirety, from the position of sitting to where the arms rest. From the information collected and analysed, we can provide solutions to minimise the risk of employees suffering upper repetitive limb, neck or spine injury.
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