menu

Health and Safety Directorate

A-Z menu

Office Safety

 

 

 

 

 

This page provides information relating to health, safety and welfare in the office work environment. There are a number of hazards found in offices which will require some controls to be exercised. The following list contains commonest topics in relation to office health and safety.

Slips, Trips and Falls

The most common causes of accidents are slips, trips and falls. The following actions will prevent most of these type of accidents:

  • floor surfaces - wipe up spills immediately,  display cautionary notices during cleaning and polishing, immediately report and ensure repairs to loose carpet and any damaged floor coverings. If you feel that the floor covering in your office is damaged in any way please report it to the Estates and Facilities Helpdesk
  • chairs - routinely inspect chairs for condition,
  • electrical leads - ensure leads do not cross walkways or workstations, change the office layout if necessary;
  • stairways - use handrails, report defects and damages to stairs and handrails.

Lighting

Offices should have sufficient light to enable work to be undertaken without risks to the occupants. Light can be by natural or artificial means. The quality of light is important and a mixture of good natural light and artificial systems is the best method of providing the correct lighting level. It is also important that the direction of natural light can be controlled to ensure an absence of reflections on the DSE screens. .

Ventilation - Air Quality

In many cases, windows or other openings will provide sufficient ventilation in the offices. In case of mechanical ventilation systems which re circulate air should be adequately filtered to remove impurities. To avoid air becoming unhealthy, purified air should have some fresh air added to it before being re circulated. Mechanical ventilation systems should be regularly and properly cleaned, tested and maintained to ensure that they are kept clean and free from anything which may contaminate the air.

Temperature

Health and Safety Executive Approved Code of Practice (Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations 1992) states that during working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings should be reasonable (i.e. at least 16 degrees Celsius). A method of heating or cooling shall not be used which results in the escape into a workplace of fumes, gas or vapour of such character and to such extend that they are likely to be injurious or offensive to any person. A sufficient number of thermometers should be provided to enable persons at work to determine the temperature in the workplace inside the building. There is no upper limit as to what the maximum temperature can be in an office.

Adequate Space to Work

Offices should have enough free space to allow people to get to and from workstations and to move within the room, with ease. Health and Safety Executive explains how much space does each employee entitled to at work: Please click on the link http://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/faqs/roomspace.htm .

Welfare Facilities

Welfare facilities include the provision of adequate toilet and washing facilities. The facilities should be in sufficient numbers and be clean, well maintained and have adequate ventilation. Hot and cold water, soap and hand drying facilities should also be in place. The provision of suitable drinking water is also a statutory requirement i.e. drinkable tap water.

The other types of hazards found might include the following:

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), have also produced guidance on http://www.hse.gov.uk/office/

Return to top