Office safety

Elevated view of busy open plan office

Avoid hazards in the office

People tend to think the hazards involved in office work are minor when compared to other work environments. But office workers are exposed to a number of the same hazards as a majority of less extreme operations such as slips, trips and falls, electrical dangers, harmful chemicals, lifting strains, cuts and scrapes, and fires or other emergency situations.

It is an employers responsibility to provide training to keep workers safe and assist them in recognizing and avoiding these hazards.

Slips and trips
Make sure that flooring or floor coverings have no tears, spills are cleaned up immediately, no electrical cords are lying across walkways or are damaged. Avoid clutter and provide adequate lighting to reduce tripping hazards.

Never stand on chairs or any items not designed for reaching heights. Use step stools and stepladders that are in working condition.

Electrical safety
Do not overload circuits by plugging too many machines into one outlet. The result could be overheating and causing a fire. Always inspect equipment before plugging it in. Discard faulty equipment so someone else does not use and suffers an injury. Never remove the third prong to a three-prong plug.

Cut and lacerations
When using a box knife to open packages, never cut toward your body. Always close the blade when you are done using the knife. Scissors should be stored in a closed position. Keep hands away from the blade when using a paper cutter and put the blade down when finished.

Ergonomic stress
Awkward posture, like extending your arms to type or hunching your shoulders and leaning forward towards the computer screen is a risk factor. You may also need to adjust the lighting so that the glare from the screen doesn't strain your eyes. Look away


  • Office workers are exposed to hazards just like many other industries.
  • Avoid slips and trips by proper housekeeping.
  • Do not stand on chairs to reach heights.
  • When using a box cutter, cut away from your body and get the blade closed when not in use.
  • Take regular breaks and avoid awkward postures at your workstation
Elevated view of busy open plan office
This document is intended for general information purposes only, and should not be construed as advice or opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. The content of this document is made available on an “as is” basis, without warranty of any kind. This document can’t be assumed to contain every acceptable safety and compliance procedures or that additional procedures might not be appropriate under the circumstances. Markel does not guarantee that this information is or can be relied on for compliance with any law or regulation, assurance against preventable losses, or freedom from legal liability. This publication is not intended to be legal, underwriting, or any other type of professional advice. Persons requiring advice should consult an independent adviser.  Markel does not guarantee any particular outcome and makes no commitment to update any information herein, or remove any items that are no longer accurate or complete. Furthermore, Markel does not assume any liability to any person or organization for loss or damage caused by or resulting from any reliance placed on that content.

*Markel Specialty is a business division of Markel Service, Incorporated, the underwriting  manager for the Markel affiliated insurance companies.
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