There is a common believe that an office environment provides a safe place in which to work. But many hazards exist that provide injuries and health problems among office workers. Modern offices are different from those of 20 years ago and due to automation and new office technology office workers are faced with even more hazards.
At the end of this course you should be able to: Identify most common safety hazards in your office Apply daily Health and Safety Principals into your work activities Conducted by: Frontline Safety Health and Environment
DEFINITIONS Danger - anything which may cause injury or damage to persons or property. Employee-any person who is employed by or works for an employer and who receives, or is entitled to receive remuneration or who works under the direction or supervision of an employer or any other person. Employer-any person who employs or provides work for any other person and remunerates that person or undertakes to remunerate him, but excludes a labour broker. Hazard-a source of or exposure to danger Health & Safety -a committee established under section 19. Committee Health & Safety –any article or part thereof which is manufactured, provided or Equipment installed in the interest of the health & safety of any persons.
DEFINITIONS (continued) Health & Safety –a person designated in terms of Section 17(1) Representative Major incident- an occurrence of catastrophic proportions, resulting from the use of plant or machinery or from activities at a workplace. Mandatary-includes an agent, a contractor or sub-contractor for work, without derogating from his status as an employer. Plant-includes fixtures, fittings, implements, equipment, tools and appliances, and anything which is used for any purpose in connection with such plant. Premises-includes any building, vehicle, vessel, train or aircraft. Risk-the probability that injury or damage will occur Safe-means free of any hazard Substance-any solid, liquid, vapour, gas or aerosol, or a combination thereof Workplace - any premises or place where a person performs work.
STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS Let us look at the difference between the purpose of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Act 85 of 1993) and that of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (Act 130 of 1993). The main differences are:
LEGISLATION OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY ACT (ACT 85 OF 1993) PURPOSE OF THE ACT To provide for the health & safety of persons at work and for the health & safety of persons in connection with the use of plant and machinery; the protection of persons other than persons at work against hazards to health & safety arising out of or in connection with the activities of persons at work,
GENERAL DUTIES OF EMPLOYERS TO THEIR EMPLOYEES Section 8: 1.Every employer shall: Provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risk to the health of his employees.
2. Provide and maintain a)Systems of work, plant and machinery that is safe and without risk to health; Take steps to: b)Eliminate or mitigate hazards or potential hazards before resorting to personal protective equipment. Make arrangements to ensure: c)The safety / absence of risk to health in connection with production, processing, use, handling, storage or transport of articles or substances; Establish: d)What hazards are attached to work performed, any article or substance produced, processed, used, handled, stored or transported and any plant or machinery which is used and what precautionary measures should be taken in order to protect the health and safety of persons and provide the necessary means to apply such measures; Provide e)Such information, instruction and supervision to ensure the health & safety at work of his employees.
Not permit: f)any employee to do work, produce, progress, use, handle, store or transport any article or substance or to operate any plant or machinery unless precautionary measures are taken. Ensure: g)That the requirements of this Act are complied with by every person in his employment; Enforce h)Such measures as may be necessary in the interest of health & safety; Ensure: i)That work is performed under the supervision of a person trained to understand the hazards associated with it, and who has the authority to ensure that precautionary measures taken by the employer are implemented. Inform: j)Employees regarding the scope of their authority
GENERAL DUTIES OF EMPLOYEES AT WORK SECTION 14 Every employee while at work shall: Take reasonable care: a)Of himself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions; Co-operate b)As regards any duty or requirement imposed on his employer or any other person by this Act to enable that duty or requirement to be performed or complied with; Carry-out c)Any lawful order given out to him; and Obey: d)The health and safety rules and procedures laid down by his employer or by anyone authorised thereto by his employer, in the interest of health & safety;
SECTION 14 (continued) Report: e)Any situation which is unsafe or unhealthy to his employer or to the health & safety representative for his workplace or section thereof, as the case may be, who shall report it to his employer; and Report f)If he is involved in any incident which may be affected his health or which has caused an injury to himself, to his employer or to anyone authorised thereto by the employer, or to his health & safety representative, as soon as practical but not later than the end of the particular shift during which the incident occurred, unless circumstances were such that it was not possible, in which case he shall report the incident as soon as possible thereafter.
It is estimated that office workers sustain 76, 000 fractures, dislocations, sprains and confusions annually The leading types of incidents are caused by:- Falls, Slips and Trips Strains and Overexertion Struck By or Striking Objects Caught In or Between Objects Material Storage/ chemical substances Workstation Ergonomics Indoor Air Quality Lighting Noise Office Electrical equipment Office Fires Bad Housekeeping
CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF INCIDENTS UNSAFE PERSONAL BEHAVIOUR (ACTS) Unsafe behaviour is anything that a person does, or anything that he/she fails to do, that contributed to the incident. [Irresponsible behaviour]
Controls are: Materials must not be stored on top of cabinets Heavy materials must be stored at the bottom of cabinets (Eliminating top heavy causing toppling when opening and severe injuries) Materials must not be stored in aisles, corners and passage ways. Fire extinguishers must not be obstructed Flammables and Combustibles must be properly stored Ergonomic design will reduce back injuries
Fire hazards found in offices consist of furniture, rugs fibres which can ignite emit toxic fumes. Controls to reduce office fire hazards Stores records / papers in fire resistant valid Use flame / resistant materials Prohibit smoking Mounted and easily accessible Handling and Storage hazards Improper lighting can cause musculoskeletal problems such as sprains, strains, inflamed joints Poor storage practices lead to objects falling, poor visibility & fires.
6)Walkways, Emergency Exits, Fire Fighting Equipment clear of obstructions In case of an emergency, it is important that the above be kept clear of any obstruction at all times. Fire fighting equipment should always be clearly accessible should it be needed in the event of a fire. 7)Unsafe / Unhealthy Environment : Poor housekeeping standards, stacking and storage practices have been identified as the causes of some accidents. Exposure to unsafe atmospheric conditions (eg. The presence of dangerous gases, fumes and vapours emitted by the process of materials) could result in serious consequences. Conditions such as this, as well as extreme temperatures, poor lighting, slippery surfaces, loose floor tiles sudden changes in floor levels should be reported immediately.
Ventilation: Natural agents eg, Co. Chemicals eg. Cleaning agents, cigarette smoke Ventilation systems need to be adequate to provide comfortable temperature If a printing machine is present it may need to be ventilated to the outside to expel particulates and gases away from the employees. Office machines must be maintained.
Natural agents eg, Co. Chemicals eg. Cleaning agents, cigarette smoke Ventilation systems need to be adequate to provide comfortable temperature If a printing machine is present it may need to be ventilated to the outside to expel particulates and gases away from the employees. Office machines must be maintained.
Common Health and Safety Hazards Lighting Lighting problems caused Glare Shadows Visual problems eg. Eyestrain, fatigue, double vision etc Poor lighting also contributes towards accidents
Controls are: Regular maintenance of lighting systems Light coloured walls & floors Shades / Blinds on windows In directing Lighting
Office workers are subject to:- Computer station Noise – Printers Telephones Human Voices Noise procedures Tension and Stress as well as Damage to Hearing
Controls are Move Noise machines to an enclosed area Adjust Ring Tones of Phones Re-Route traffic to avoid flow through work areas
Poor design and layout leads to crowding, leak of privacy, slips, trips and falls The following must be considered during an office layout. Minimum of in between desks and at least 2m² per employee. Telephone cords and leads to be kept out of aisles Group employees who use the same machines / printers Machine must not be placed on desk / table edges Carpets must be Inspected regularly, faulty ones replaced / repaired Re-down computer and telephone wires.
Emergency Exits Emergency exits must not be blocked as they can cause entrapment, block to escape of employees during emergencies causing. Controls to ensure proper Access All exits must be at least 900mm wide At least 2(two) exits must be provided Emergency exits must be clearly marked, and free of any obstructions and adequately Office employees must be aware of the position of emergency exits and trained in evacuation procedures.
Electric accidents usually occur as a result of faulty equipment or defective equipment, unsafe installation or misuse of equipment. Controls Equipment must be properly grounded to prevent shock Circuits must not be overloaded Avoid using poor maintenance equipment Cords must not be dragged over nails, hooks or sharp objects Machines must be disconnected before cleaning or adjusting…………..generally the must be locked out.
Defective Furniture or misuse of chair or filing cabinets by office workers can lead to serious injuries. CONTROLS Do not lean back in a chair with your feet in the Air Do not ride across the floor while sitting in your chair Do not stand on a chair using it as a ladder. Chairs must be properly inspected for missing casters, shaky legs, and loose parts Do not locate filing cabinets close to door ways or in aisles Use drawer handles to open an close file drawers (Pinched Fingers)
Machines with rotating parts cause lacerations abrasions, fractures and amputation if not properly guarded. Fans blades must be guarded and they should have a fire base
Misuse of office tools such as pens, pencils, paper, letter openers, scissors and staplers can cause cuts, punctures and related infections Injuries can be prevented Paper cutters – Keep Blade closed when not in use – Guard Staplers – Use a stapler remover to remove staplers. Pencils, pens, scissors etc- store sharp objects in a drawer or with point down & never hand someone a sharp object point first.
Potential Health Hazards associated with Photo copying machines are:- Toxic Chemicals Excessive Noise Intense Light Photocopiers can also be a sours of indoor Air Pollution when used in offices that are not Ventilated
Keep the Document cover closed Reduce Noise Exposure by isolating the machine Place the machine in well ventilated rooms Have the machines serviced regularly Avoid skin contact with the toner Clean all spills and dispose of waste properly.
Health Hazards related to VDTs are : Radiation Noise Eye irritation Low back. Neck and shoulder pain Stress CONTROLS VDTs should be spaced to avoid noise annually ergonomic surveys should be conducted to ensure the keyboard position, document holder, screen, characters and colour is correct.
Results of incident Loss of time Loss of money Loss of limb Loss of life Loss of production
Safety in the office is critical; hence it recommended that simple procedures be followed.
Has illness and injury among workers increased because of the design of safer equipment. True False Potential health hazards associated with photocopying machines include toxic chemicals excessive noise an intense light True False Studies have shown the radiations from computers are not dangerous True False
We discussed: Leading type of disabling accidents Common office safety and health hazards: VentilationElectrical Equipment Illumination Office furniture NoiseOffice Machinery House KeepingLadders Emergency ExitsOffice Tools Fire HazardsPhoto Copiers Storage & HandlingComputers (VDTs) First aid