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Office Safety – Avoiding the Slips, Trips, and Falls

When it comes to workplace safety, offices may be one of the most overlooked spaces for hazardous conditions.  Take a moment to look around your office.  What do you see?  What about that stack of reading you put on the floor to get it off of your desk?  How about that cord you plugged in that stretches from behind your chair to your laptop on the desk “temporarily” last week?  Or that file drawer you are working out of today, the one you left open because it was more convenient?  Each of these things has no doubt caused injuries at work.  Slips, trips, and falls are the most common source of injury in an office environment, and are likely some of the easiest to mitigate with some careful attention.
One of the best things you can do is bring the topic of office safety to the forefront in your office.  You can do this by having office staff hold their own monthly or quarterly safety meetings.  Make the safety meetings interesting with safety topics that are relevant to their work.  Discuss some of the most common sources of injuries:  slips, trips, falls, improper lifting, poor ergonomics, electrocution, and fire.
You might consider providing a list of safety meeting topics that can be covered during the coming year and assign them to office workers in various departments.  Let those employees plan and conduct the meeting to engage them in the safety process.  Watch this blog for the following topics that you might want to use for your office safety meetings:

• My Office IS safe! How to do a safety audit in your office
• What do I do when My Office is on Fire!? Fire safety in the office
• Good Housekeeping is Just Not the name of a Grocery Store Magazine!  Office housekeeping
• The SHOCKING Truth about your Office! Avoiding electrocution in and around the office
• Be a STAND UP Employee.  Eliminating the potential for slips, trips, and falls
In my experience, office safety is often overlooked in hazardous industries such as electric utilities, chemical plants, oil and gas production, and manufacturing where much emphasis is placed on safety for workers exposed to work environment hazards.  And, office safety is not high on the list of priorities in industries that are office-centric.  There is no better time than right now to start focusing on office safety.  Now, take another look at your office and make it safer place to work.

By Deb Potter, PhD, CMC
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Deb Potter, PhD, is a certified management consultant (CMC), and specializes in safety management consulting for high-risk industries. As the author of Zero! Responsible Safety Management by Design, she works with leaders at all levels of organizations to develop zero-injury cultures.  She is on faculty in the School of Advanced Studies at the University of Phoenix. Deb may be contacted at deb@potterandassociates.com .

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