Office safety - Introduction

Almost every organisation has some office-based work. Technology like data processing, communications and information transfer has enabled an enormous increase in the volume of information handled daily. These changes offer many positive effects through faster communication, greater job efficiency and increased variety in the tasks performed, but also some negatives like decreased physical variation, information overload, repetition and monotony.

The increase in flexible and portable equipment has also expanded the office environment into areas outside the traditional office such as on-site locations, vehicles and the home. Occupational safety and health practices need to keep pace with the rapid changes in office-based work.

This website promotes safety and health in the office and is designed as a resource for managers, supervisors, office workers and anyone involved in office type work. It brings together a range of information and provides references to other information resources for more detail where necessary. A risk management approach should be used to address office safety and health – a consultative process to identify hazards, assess their risks and control them as far as possible. This approach should be adopted in the design and management of offices, work carried out in them, and the selection and use of furniture and equipment. It aims to:

  • raise awareness of safety and health issues in the office;
  • help identify existing and potential safety and health problems;
  • encourage consultation on safety and health issues;
  • help employers meet their legal responsibilities in relation to safety and health;
  • offer solutions and advice; and
  • give guidance on where to go for further information and help.

While hazards in the office may not always be as obvious as those in factories, construction sites or field based work, office workers also face a range of safety and health issues, including poor job design, prolonged repetitive work, moving heavy loads, inadequate lighting and cramped or unsafe work areas.

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