While many people consider the office to be a safe place to work there are multiple hazards faced by the workers. Although it is a low risk workplace there is still the need for the creation of risk assessments and creating safe working measures to ensure the health and safety of the employees and visitors is taken care of. The IOSH Managing Safely course is an ideal educational course to take for business owners and managers within the organisation in order to maintain strong health and safety procedures.
Dangers in the Office
One of the dangers in the office is the use of VDUs or visual display units. Some employees may experience health problems because of working with a VDU however often the effects are caused by how the VDU is used. Depending on the positioning users may experience problems such as repetitive strain injuries. Symptoms of RSI include wrist, arm, neck,
shoulder, back and hand pains. These are often called upper limb disorders and many of the problems can be helped by encouraging frequent breaks and designing work stations to be more ergonomic.
Stress in the Workplace
The above symptoms can also be induced because the person operating the VDU is under work related stress. The stress could be down to workload, deadlines, not having the correct training or a feeling of not being in control of the situation. Another problem is eye strain and although there has been no link to permanent damage caused to the eyes from the VDUs it is acknowledged that prolonged use can lead to sore eyes and headaches.
Employees Need Support from You
As part of your health and safety policy it’s important to inform all of your employees that they can come to you if they experience any problems as mentioned above. When they do you will need to provide solutions and support to help to alleviate the problems. You could perform a risk assessment to spot the causes of the aches and pains and to help you to
identify how you can solve the issues. You may need to provide more training, offer additional support to reduce the workload, redesign their work space or find alternative solutions.
If you would like to learn more about the dangers faced in low risk office environments consider joining a health and safety course awarded by the IOSH. Alternatively, take a look at our DSE tips and advice page.