Thursday, May 18, 2017  08:00 AM | By: Matt Dow
Office Safety Hazards: How to Prevent Them

If you own a business or supervise a team of employees, it is important to be on the lookout for office safety hazards that could cause injury to your personnel, customers, vendors and other visitors. Here, we will identify common hazardous office areas and learn how to prevent them from causing harm both now and in the future.

Bathrooms

Wet Floor Sign 

Bathroom can be hazardous because they often store hazardous chemicals such as industrial cleaning products. In addition, they can be a prime location for a slip and fall accident if a toilet overflows or there is too much sink water on the floor. If your business has showers, you have added risk and need to take steps to prevent serious injuries from occurring on your jobsite.

To prevent injuries in your bathrooms, you should lock up any dangerous products, install rubber, no-slip mats in showers and have your plumbing fixtures regularly serviced to prevent leaks and the resulting wet floors that would ensue. You should also make sure that those who are using the bathroom can dry their hands to prevent extra water from dripping onto the floor. If need be, you can also consider throwing down a thin rug to help soak up and remaining drips. If water does need to remain stagnant on the floor, be sure you put up a “wet floor” safety sign to warn others to watch their step.

Kitchens

Kitchens often pose a fire hazard, as well as a water hazard. Just like the bathroom, people are utilizing water resources and plumbing throughout the kitchen. Because of this, many of the same types of chemical and slip and fall risks are present here. An added risk, however, is the fire hazard that goes along with the use of kitchen appliances such as refrigerators, stoves, microwaves, coffee pots, toasters and more.

Reduce your risk of a fire or slip and fall incident by adhering to the same tips provided in our bathroom prevention section above. You should also be sure that all employees unplug most table-top appliances after use to reduce your risk of electrical fires. The kitchen should also be stocked with an up-to-date fire extinguisher for worst case scenarios. Finally, be sure to have someone responsible for checking to be sure the coffee pot is off each night. While most modern models have automatic shut-off features, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Warehouses

Warehouse Safety 

If you have a warehouse or other large storage space where you house inventory and/or machinery, you must take even more special care to prevent on-the-job injuries. Between stacked inventory, forklift errors and a plethora of fire hazards, a warehouse or large storage space can often be the most dangerous place in the office.

Ensure that your shelving units are secure at all times by attaching them into the walls and/or bolting them down directly into your concrete flooring. This will prevent a shelf domino effect and serious injury for an unsuspecting employee. Also, be careful not to stack inventory too high to prevent them from falling down on top of someone.

All equipment should be turned off when not in use with the keys removed from the ignition and the equipment placed out of the way of exit areas. Keys should be stored in a safe place, or better yet, a locked box, desk or cabinet. You should also be alert to any piles of paper, boxes or any other flammable materials, especially if they are located near live outlets or wiring.

Parking Areas

Parking Garage 

Parking garages and parking lots often leave people vulnerable to physical injury from moving vehicles, theft and other physical attacks. Be sure your parking areas are well-lit to discourage theft or other criminal activity. Also, be sure trees, bushes and other shrubbery are trimmed to allow for good lines of sight for drivers who may be leaving the office late at night.

Stairways

Stairways and stairwells are another area in the office that could potentially hold risk of injury. Falling down the stairs can result in serious injuries and, in the most extreme cases, even death. Just as with parking areas, your stairways should be well lit. They should have backup, emergency lighting in the event of a power outage and secure railings to assist those who require more balance.


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