Common Health and Safety problems for office workers

In this article, we will be looking at some of the common health and safety problems for office workers.  It is the responsibility of the employer to carry out a general risk assessment of the office space. As identified by the HSE, some of the most common health and safety problems for office workers that should be covered in the risk assessment include:

  • Slips, trips, and falls
  • Fire safety
  • Display Screen Equipment
  • Workplace stress

Slips, Trips and Falls

Every workplace is different, and it is the employer’s legal duty to identify any hazards that could cause a slip, trip, or fall within their offices. The employer must introduce control measures to minimise the risk of a slip, trip, or fall in the office.  Control measures to reduce slips, trips, and falls include:

  • Good housekeeping.
  • Regular checks of the office space, such as first thing in the morning and at the end of the working day.
  • Staff training to include awareness of slips, trips, and falls.
  • Having procedures in place to deal with any spillages. This includes ensuring spillages are cleaned up as soon as they are identified and if a floor is wet, then wet floor signs must be displayed in the area until it is dry.

The HSE offer additional guidance on slips, trips, and falls.

Fire Safety

It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure the safety of their employees while working within an office.  All office spaces should have an evacuation procedure in place with correct signage.  Fire marshals should be trained to lead the evacuation of the office space and on the use of fire extinguishers. All employees should receive information about fire safety within the workplace. This includes guidance on how to spot something that could lead to a fire, such as an electrical appliance sparking at the socket and ensuring bins are emptied regularly.  Employees should also know the evacuation procedure and where the assembly point is. 

Employers should ensure both a fire risk assessment has been carried out with any findings rectified and that sufficient fire signage is on display throughout the office space.

Display Screen Equipment

Employers have a responsibility of protecting any workers that use display screen equipment, such as computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

It is the law for employers to protect their employees that use display screen equipment by:

  • Carrying out a Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessment – All workers who use display screen equipment for an hour or more a day must carry out a DSE assessment of their workstation in the office.
  • Providing an eye test for employees that request one and purchasing a basic pair of glasses if an employee requires them for working with DSE equipment.
  • Ensuring that employees take frequent breaks from using display screen equipment, such as 5 minutes every hour.

Workplace stress

Employers have a legal responsibility of ensuring they protect their workers from stress within the office by carrying out a stress risk assessment.

When developing a stress risk assessment, employers must consider the following:

  • Demands
  • Control
  • Support
  • Relationships
  • Role
  • Change

All the above points must be assessed to manage stress within the office.

Another way employers could minimize the risk of stress within the office is to have trained Mental Wellbeing First Aiders, who are trained to spot early signs of stress and to offer support at the early stages of stress.

oneSafe can assist you in preventing common health and safety problems from occurring within your workplace. For assistance, including carrying out a general risk assessment for your office and Mental Wellbeing First Aid training, get in contact with our team of experts.

T: 0330 107 1037


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