I work with people,,mostly small children and their families and a major part of my job role is being responsible for health and safety, and risk assessment, around the activities we all take part in, both before, during and after, so keeping everyone safe, preventing accidents and watching out for issues is something I do, and it usually is almost second nature.
I also work in an office as part of my job, using a desk, a computer, a photocopier, etc. I work with a small group of other people, in that office space.
I tend to think less about office safety because, well, it’s an office. What could possibly be unsafe about working in an office (well, unless you happen to be around when I am having a fight with our photocopier and am threatening to throw my coffee at it) surely it isn’t a dangerous place to be…? Are you like me and you don’t think about trip hazards, dangerous wires, too many items plugged into one extension cord, piles of things on the floor or precariously balanced where they could fall? Shelves that aren’t fixed to the walls, that coffee spill that someone said they would clean up, but hasn’t? That old chair that your colleague likes to use but that probably isn’t as stable as it should be, and when you sit on it, you hope it doesn’t give way beneath you? It’s starting to sound a bit dodgy isn’t it?
An office can be just as unsafe as any other working environment, and it’s part of the responsibility of all those working in any office space to keep it safe, and to act on any concerns about safety, or report them, and to make sure they do their part to make sure there are minimal hazards to keep everyone working there as safe as possible. Your employer or the company that provide your office space also have obligations to make sure it’s a hazard free zone too. Being responsible for our own safety and that of our colleagues should be part of how you all work together in the space you share. Take a look round the space you work in, and see if you can find any hazards or issues, that could pose a danger to you or anyone else working in that space? Can you do something about it, or report it so it is fixed? You should.
I like working in our office space, and keeping myself safe, is just as important as when I am working with people. So next time you think that an office can’t be a dangerous place, think again…