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Five Common Office Hazards to Prevent

You may think working in a comfy, climate-controlled office is safe and hazard-free, but there are many risks to your safety and health all around you. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports tens of thousands of injuries or work-related health problems that office workers suffer each year.

Being aware of these dangers is the first step in eliminating them and reducing the odds of injuries occurring.

Here are five of the most common office hazards:

Slips, Trips and Falls

Universal slip, trip and fall culprits include unattended spills, wet floors, exposed cords, unstable work surfaces, uneven floors, loose rugs and cluttered areas.

Ergonomic Injuries

Office workers spend many hours a day seated at a desk, working on a computer, resulting in ergonomic strains and other injuries related to posture and repetitive movement. These types of hazards can be difficult to detect.

Eye Strain

Spending a large portion of your workday at the computer can cause eyestrain, eyes may become dry and irritated, and workers may begin having trouble focusing. Light levels should be suitable for the work task—for instance, manual detail work may require higher levels of lighting, but staring at a computer monitor does not.

Fire Safety

Fire departments responded to approximately 17,500 office fires in 2012, which resulted in $643 million in property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Routine office inspections could reduce this danger.

Indoor Air Quality

The prevalence of poor indoor air quality has contributed to a rise in occupational asthma and other respiratory disorders, chemical sensitivity and allergies. Some of the reasons for poor air quality are inadequate ventilation systems; office overcrowding; the presence of cleaning chemicals and pesticides; water damage and mold growth; cubicle design that blocks off air flow to work areas; too much or too little humidity; and poor housekeeping, which leads to dirty work environments.

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