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Six Easy Ways to Make your Office Safer in June, National Safety Month

By Sally Murdoch

first aid kit location signage

Consider this sobering statistic from OSHA: In 2014, 20.5% of all private sector worker fatalities (4,251, in all) were in construction. The following is what OSHA deems to be the “fatal four:”

  • Falls — 349 out of 874 total deaths in construction in 2014 (39.9%)
  • Electrocutions — 74 (8.5%)
  • Struck by Object — 73 (8.4%)
  • Caught-in/between — 12 (1.4%)

Although hazards like these are rarely present in offices, dangers remain. In fact, 80,000 private sector administrative workers suffer on-the-job injuries annually. With June named by the National Safety Council (NSC) as National Safety Month, here are six smart fixes, beyond simple ergonomics, that can make your office safe.

1. Avoid That Trip Next Fall

Slips, trips, and falls are the most common type of office injury according to OSHA. Clutter in walkways, such as boxes and files, are the biggest culprits. The 5S concept, one of several lean manufacturing tools, cites organization as the keystone of safety. The first S of 5S is “seiri,” which means tidiness in Japanese. Find more 5S tips in our resources section for running your office more efficiently and taking time to de-clutter for safety. For a more extended explanation of 5S, our complimentary 5S system guide booklet is available on our site. 

2. Shoulda Put a Rug on it

Tile and marble are beautiful for office entryways but can be the cause in sweeping people right off their feet, especially in wet climates. Make sure you have tread in place for slick walkways. Our poly-backed version lends cushion and softness with 3-ply construction in standing up to heavy foot traffic.

If your workplace has notoriously slippery stairs, visual communication in the form of safety signs is key, coupled with sturdy tread.

3. Open and Shut Case: the File Cabinet

Leaving file cabinets open may be temporarily handy, but when left open, they pose a danger for yourself and anyone visiting your office or cubicle. Remind yourself to shut cabinets each time they're open so they don't pose a danger to anyone, including yourself.

4. Emergency Exits: To Know Them is to Love Them

DuraLabel BoldGlo tape and PathFinder glow in the dark tape are a great solution for egress marking

A recent study published by the American Psychological Association (APA) shows that people prefer to exit through the door they entered, which is true even in an emergency evacuation. Whether it’s your first or 500th day of work, know where the closest emergency exit is, and make sure it’s well marked with glow signage in case of a blackout.

But besides knowing where exits are, know also that power outages are more frequent in the past few years. Consider marking dark stairwells as shown for more effective, well-lit emergency exits.

Finally, the APA study also showed people won’t take exits if they don’t know where they lead, even in an emergency. So take a tour and know exactly where the exits end, well before an emergency happens.

5. First Aid on the Double

Ever been guilty of “finding” a first aid kit, when it’s been hanging on the wall behind you for months? Like the exits, make sure you know the location of first aid kits where you work. First aid kits are necessary for every office, and know who keeps them well-stocked and clearly marked, with proper signage, too.

6. Be a Lifesaver at Work

This past spring, Ohio postal workers were eating lunch in the breakroom when one employee began to choke and lose consciousness. Two members of the group performed the Heimlich maneuver, while another called for emergency personnel. This quick thinking saved their colleague’s life.

Would you know how to save a co-worker’s life? Take this eye-opening quiz from the American Red Cross and find out. If not, what skills do you need to brush up on to potentially save someone’s life?