Office Safety laws & safety compliance analysis

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
  • Sanitation
  • Indoor air quality
  • First aid
  • Noise
  • Ergonomics
  • Electrical safety
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Chemicals and hazard communication
  • Workplace violence
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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

Type Title
Checklists Office Safety (Word)
Handouts Safe Lifting
PowerPoints Office Hazards (Multimedia)
See all Office Safety Resources