Office Safety: What you need to know
Federal safety and health rules require all employers to provide a safe and healthful workplace. While offices typically are not as hazardous as other types of work environments, they nevertheless present a number of health and safety concerns. This analysis summarizes OSHA rules that apply to office safety, including the following areas:
- Walking-working surface conditions
- Indoor air quality
- First aid
- Electrical safety
- Emergency preparedness
- Chemicals and hazard communication
- Workplace violence
Common causes of office injuries and illnesses include the following:
- Slip, trip, and fall hazards—over loose carpets, electric cords, objects left in corridors
- Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD)—such as carpal tunnel syndrome and other damage to wrists, arms, and neck
- Back injuries from lifting objects improperly
- Electric shock
- Chemical hazards—cleaning supplies or chemicals used with office machines
- Fire hazards from paper and other combustible materials
- Poor ventilation
- Workplace violence
Employees need to be aware of the fact that hazards exist, even in a seemingly safe office environment.
The General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 requires every employer to provide every employee with a place of employment that is free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm. This obligation is an open-ended one because it is designed to protect employees in situations where there are no established standards.
In addition to the general duty clause, there are a number of OSHA regulations that relate to office safety. They include:
- Walking-working surfaces, general requirements—29 CFR 1910.22
- Sanitation—29 CFR 1910.141
- Ventilation—29 CFR ...
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Office Safety Resources
Office Safety Products
General Office Safety-Spanish Training Video
Demonstrates the most common office hazards and injuries. Excellent for office personnel safety orientation training. -Spanish Edition"
Safety Orientation in Office Environments Training DVD
Designed for office workers and focuses on the most common hazards and resulting injuries in an office. Discusses chairs, ladders, office equipment, video display terminals, safe lifting, fire prevention, and more. "
Office Safety Webinar Recording
BLR Webinar: "Office Safety Training: How to Keep These Oft-Overlooked Workers Safe (and Lawsuit-Free)""
Safety Orientation in Office Environments - Spanish Training Video
Designed for office workers and focuses on the most common hazards and resulting injuries in an office. Discusses chairs, ladders, office equipment, video display terminals, safe lifting, fire prevention, and more. -Spanish Edition"
Emergency Management at Work Boot Camp Recording
BLR Boot Camp: "Emergency Management at Work: How To Prepare For and Respond To a Crisis Situation""