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Campus Emergency Management: Office Safety

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Safety often begins with the person, not just the Safety department. By taking ownership in helping yourself and others mitigate potential injury causes in the office, these actions can make an impact and eliminate hazards.

There is a huge difference in a worker who is able to recognize a hazard and a worker who recognizes hazard and owns it until it is corrected. You may have heard someone say after an incident occurs, “yeah I saw him/her doing that, I knew something was going to happen” or “I knew someone was going to trip over those wires at some point”. These statements show that the person recognized the hazard, but most likely stopped there. They identified it was a hazard, but they did not take ownership of the hazard and follow through on making sure it gets corrected.

The leading types of disabling accidents that occur within the office are the result of falls, strains and overexertion, falling objects, striking against objects, and being caught in or between objects.

Another major, but often overlooked hazard is electrical or charging wires. In today’s world, we have more portable or in place electronics than ever before. Often this means a tangle of wires under a desk, or charging cords spread out from a wall socket. In both cases, these can be tripping hazards, and potentially cause serious injury (e.g. factures).

Fire and electrical safety are often items that workers overlook as well. Blocking sprinklers, portable fire extinguishers, propping open fire doors,  and blocking fire annunciation devices (strobes, horns) with shelving, boxes, or other items can limit how they operate (or access to) and cause life safety issues. NEVER block these items. With electrical safety, workers often bring things from home that are either not approved for commercial use or have not been properly inspected. Often certain powered items are placed next to combustible items that could cause a fire. Cords that are not maintained properly can cause electrical shock.

Ergonomics is another item that workers should pay attention to while in the office.  Whether sitting in an office all day or moving material in a warehouse, practicing good ergonomics can help workers stay healthy. If left untreated, ergonomic problems can result in muscle and joint injuries.

Please see the below link for the top 25 items that can affect office workers.  Questions or concerns, please contact Campus Safety.

https://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/recognizing-hidden-dangers-25-steps-to-a-safer-office-2

Scott Campbell, Campus Emergency Management and Safety Officer
Safety Office – Facilities
University of Tennessee Health Science Center

201 East Street, Room 209
Memphis, TN, 38163

Email: Scampb62@uthsc.edu

(901) 448-1334 (W)