The combination of a desire to protect employees and increased OSHA inspections have many working hard to ensure that production and service areas are safe and free of hazards- but when completing an internal safety audit don’t forget the front office. Slips, trips and falls are the major source of both fatal and non fatal accidents according to OSHA. The cables and wires associate with office equipment can easily become a trip and fall hazard. Other common causes of injuries in the office are strains and overexertion, falling objects, striking against objects, and being caught in or between objects. Here are some tips and tools to reduce common front office accidents and injuries:
Get those cables and wires contained and up out-of-the-way – use cable containment devices such as a split wire loom (a tube to hold the wires) to hold cables hanging from a desk or shelf; surface raceways to contain cords that run along the floor or on the wall to a distant outlet; and cord protectors to cover, hide and protect cords running across a walkway. There are a number of products that loop, tie and hang that allow you to handle cables off the floor which will reduce risks.
Reduce fire hazards – it is common sense to have the standard fire extinguisher easily available to put out any fire that starts but think beyond putting out the fire to reducing the risk of fire. Flame retardant wire sleeving and the use of fire rated expanding polyurethane form can stop flame spread before it become a major issue.
Heavy metal has a place in the office - when you need heavy-duty protection for wires use metal braided sleeving. It is made from tin-coated copper, is both flexible and strong, and also offers electromagnetic interference (EMI) protection.
Blunt those sharp edges- wrap sharp edges in protective coverings. Cardboard and duct tape may not be pretty but they provide protection. Don’t forget to protect those edges when throwing items away.
Good housekeeping- it certainly looks better when materials are neatly stored but more importantly is reduces the risk of injuries. Don’t have disorderly piles of material everywhere and never ever obstruct doors, aisles, fire exits and fire-fighting equipment. Do not store material or boxes on top of lockers or file cabinets. If you have to stack things up make sure that boxes are uniform in size and stacked in such a way that they will not fall over. Designate a storage area and use it. Office equipment such as computers, index files, lights or calculators should not be placed on the edges of a desk, filing cabinet, or table. Keep store materials at least 18 inches minimum away from sprinkler heads.
Don’t forget training- all employees need training for proper procedures on safe lifting, avoiding falls and remaining alert and aware of hazards.
For more information go to NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health). KPA client may contact their engineer for a review of best practices in office safety or for assistance with additional training.