You might feel safe working away at your office desk, but a large proportion of workplace accidents occur in an office environment.

While your employer can do as much as they can to keep you and your colleagues safe, there are steps you can take to further avoid injury and harm and ensure workplace safety.

1: Speak up

If you feel uncomfortable doing something or you believe it could result in harm, such as lifting heavy boxes or using a ladder, always speak up. Don’t be afraid to tell your supervisor and they can arrange for someone to help or work out a way that it can be done more safely.

Even if an activity is part of your everyday job but makes you feel unsafe, you should still say something to your supervisor. They are not mind-readers and rely on their employees speaking up to avoid accidents.

2: Report all incidents, even if minor

Did you almost trip over a loose bit of carpet on your way to the kitchen? Perhaps you cut your finger on some rough wood on your desk? You may think nothing of it at the time, but it’s important to report these incidents to your supervisor. If you don’t, someone - including yourself - could have a more serious accident.

3: Stay alert and report hazards

After a long week at the office it can be easy to switch off and start daydreaming - but this is when accidents happen. Always stay alert when walking around, keeping an eye out for any potential hazards. If you see something that looks dangerous, either move it (such as a box blocking a hallway) or if it’s something you can’t easily fix (such as a loose cable), tell your supervisor immediately so that they can fix it.

4: Take regular breaks

Many office workers spend the majority of their days staring at a computer screen. While there’s no evidence that it can cause you any permanent damage, it can cause  temporary discomfort.

Excessive computer work can lead to headaches, eyestrain and fatigue. To avoid this you should take regular breaks. Every fifteen minutes, focus your eyes on something in the far distance for a minute or so. At least every hour you should be getting up and stretching your legs for a few minutes. Not only will it be beneficial to your health, but you’ll find yourself more energised and productive.

5: Understand correct desk ergonomics

The way that we sit at our desks can have temporary and permanent effects on our health. You should maintain good posture at your desk. To achieve this, adjust your chair height so that your feet are flat on the floor and make sure that when you type or use the mouse your elbows don’t bend sharply in either direction.

Your monitor should sit approximately 50-100 cm from your face to avoid eye strain, and the centre of the screen should be at eye level.

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