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By Jackie Edwards 

November 9, 2017  

 

When most of us think of workplace safety, we envisage fire drills and OSHA compliant machinery. However, there are dangers in the office that often go unnoticed but which have a direct impact on employees of every level. Everything from molding food to a coworker’s germs can pose a potential hazard to the health and safety of everyone around. There are a couple of common fixtures that can be a cause for concern among office workers.

 

The Phone

Your work phone takes a lot of use and abuse throughout the day, especially if it’s a mobile phone. Many of us don’t think much about the fact that our phone travels everywhere with us, from the bedroom to the bathroom, and most of us don’t wash our hands every time we reach for the keypad. Germs can build up on the screen, in the earpiece, and in the mouthpiece of your phone, but luckily, you can easily clean your unit with a dry cloth.

 

The Keyboard

Our computer keyboard is full of nooks and crannies that can hide debris from view. It’s easy to get dirt hidden under the keys, including skin cells, germs, and crumbs from working lunches. All of this grime can build up and harbor bacteria that comes in contact with our fingers as we type, significantly increasing our risk of getting sick and even leading to being out of work .You can keep your keyboard clean by using a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol to scrub between each key. You can also remove keys and wash them individually for a deeper clean.

 

The Coffee Machine

Whether you have a personal coffee maker or share one with the rest of the office, it can become a health hazard quickly if it isn’t cleaned regularly. Studies have shown that  dozens of different species of bacteria can be found in the drip tray of a communal coffee machine, as they thrive in the warm and moist environment. You should set up a schedule to ensure that the office coffee machine is cleaned on a frequent basis to prevent the buildup of germs.

 

The Chair

Office workers sit at the desks for hours at a time each day, often with little to no movement for long periods of time. This can put a strain on joints and muscles, leading to problems such as poor posture, carpal tunnel syndrome, and even arthritis. Employees should be provided with adjustable chairs that allow each workstation to account for height differences amongst staff members, and the base of the chair should offer adequate support.

 

The Floor

Offices with uncarpeted floors put employees at a greater risk of injury from slips, trips, and falls, especially during rainy or snowy weather. Bringing in non-slip floor runners during wet winter months can reduce the tripping risk for employees. Staff members should also make sure to clean up any spills immediately to prevent anyone from slipping.

It’s important to be aware of potential health and safety hazards that are present in your office space. With a little bit of care and the right maintenance, it’s not difficult to keep your office safe and clean.