Health and safety in offices

The office environment is not considered a high risk workplace, however there are a number of areas which need to be considered to improve safety in the office.

Areas to be considered for improving safety in the office

  • slip and trips
  • electrical equipment
  • visual display units and work stations are correctly adjusted for the person using them
  • asbestos surveys of older buildings, who is responsible for the survey and removal of asbestos if required - this may be detailed in the lease agreement if applicable
  • COSHH assessments of any chemicals which may be stored and used in the office area, including some strong bleaches and other cleaning products
  • emergency fire evacuation procedures need to be in place and adequate signing in the office directing staff and visitors to the escape routes
  • other information which needs to be considered and displayed would be employers insurance, who the first aiders are, and any general safety information that employees need to know - there should also be an accident book within the office

Slips and trips

This would be the most common type of incident within the office environment. Although rarely fatal, injuries from slips and trips can be severe enough to the injured person for them to be off work.

This can result in increased costs to employers for replacement staff, disruption to work flow and also any legal costs encured from the injury.

Typical reasons for slips and trips would include electrical cables running along the floor, storage of paper in hallways / access ways and wet floor surfaces caused by spillages and not being cleaned up promptly.

Electrical appliances

There are a large number of electrical appliances within the majority of offices ranging from computers, printers and kettles. Each of these appliances will be subjected to some form of contact and could receive damage.

Regular visual inspections of electrical appliances can highlight any damage. By removing or repairing damaged electrical equipment you can reduce the risk of electric shock to your employees. Visual inspections would include checking the socket and plug of the item and looking for any cracks to the casing of the plug or bare wires entering the plug. The outer skin of the cable can be damaged which could result in bare wires being exposed. The appliance itself may receive misuse or mishandling resulting in cracked casing or damaged internal components. This visual inspection can be carried out by a suitable trained employee, futher portable appliance testing can be done by a competant person.



Key legislation 

Please note that these links are to the original legislation, visitors should verify for themselves whether legislation is in force or whether it has been amended or repealed by subsequent legislation.