Orlando, Fla.—When you start your business, you work on your business plan, put in order everything from goals, budget, physical space, talent, tools of the trade and more.
The group of particular skills that everyone tends to procrastinate, mostly because it is not indispensable to quickly start building profits, are safety skills. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports tens of thousands of injuries or work-related health problems that office workers suffer each year.
According to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM,) slips and trips are the most common office accident, accounting for the greatest number of injuries.
At the time of setting up your office workplace, it is important to consider potential hazards. Florida employers have a legal responsibility to their employees to make the workplace safe.
An Overview of the Most Common Hazards
Office workers spend many hours a day seated at a desk, working on a computer, resulting in ergonomic strains and other injuries related to posture and repetitive movement. These types of hazards can be difficult to detect.
To prevent risk of trips, falls, bumps and other injuries, desks should be placed at least three feet apart, and office equipment like computers and printers shouldn’t be placed on the edge of desks. Filing cabinets should be closed when not in use, and cords should be neatly organized where they don’t present tripping hazards and aren’t rolled over by desk chairs.
Too much lighting can cause glare on computer screens, which can cause eye fatigue and strain. Also, according to the Mayo Clinic, spending a large portion of the workday at the computer also causes eyestrain. Eyes may become dry and irritated, and workers may begin having trouble focusing. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA,) recommends taking a 10-minute break for every hour you spend looking at a computer screen.
The prevalence of poor indoor air quality has contributed to a rise in occupational asthma and other respiratory disorders, chemical sensitivity and allergies, according to the NSC. Some of the reasons for poor air quality are inadequate ventilation systems; office overcrowding; the presence of cleaning chemicals and pesticides; water damage and mold growth; cubicle design that blocks off air flow to work areas; too much or too little humidity; and poor housekeeping, which leads to dirty work environments.
Offices should be designed to separate workers from noisy equipment such as printers and ventilation equipment can help. Increasing the distance between workstations or using noise-absorbing materials such as cubicle walls, carpeting, and acoustic tile can also lower the volume in order to prevent stress and detract from morale.
Stacking file boxes and other materials can create a significant hazard in the office. If an employee bumps into the stack, it can topple over and fall on someone. Stacking materials also increases the likelihood that an employee will lift or retrieve the materials incorrectly, leading to sprain or stain-type injury.
According to the latest available data, fire departments responded to approximately 17,500 office fires in 2012, which resulted in $643 million in property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Routine office inspections could reduce this danger.
Being aware of these dangers is the first step in eliminating them and reducing the odds of injuries occurring as your HR department can implement processes to identify dangers and correct such problems.
Unfortunately for every Florida business owner, the chances of getting sued have dramatically increased in the last decade. General Liability insurance can prevent a legal suit from turning into a financial disaster by providing financial protection in case your business is ever sued or held legally responsible for some injury or damage. But this coverage is not enough for your business. In Florida, if you have employees, you are required to carry Workers Compensation coverage.
To provide you a complete look at the insurance coverage your business needs to prevent loss, contact one of our local business insurance agents at Garzor Insurance. We will be thrilled to help you protect your investment.
Yaralyn Diaz, CSR
Commercial Lines CSR