Workplace Health and Safety

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Lesson 6: Hazards in office environments

Office hazards

People tend to think that office environments are not very hazardous. However, hazards do exist in the office and can result in health and safety problems for workers.

There are many potential occupational health and safety hazards in offices. However, with workplaces following appropriate health and safety procedures, many of these hazards are eliminated or avoided.

Visual Problems

Eyestrain and eye irritation

These are among the ailments most frequently reported by computer operators. These vision problems can result from:

Adjusting the physical and environmental conditions of your workspace can usually prevent the causes of eyestrain and irritation.

Many computer jobs require long sessions in front of a display screen and some workers may need corrective lenses to avoid eyestrain and headaches. Workers with eye complaints should have eye examinations to ensure early detection and correction of vision problems.


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Incorrect use of office furniture

One of the main occupational health and safety hazards facing office workers is the incorrect use of office furniture such as chairs, footrests and accessories for a computer workstation.

Injuries can occur to muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, joints and nerves. If you sit with the incorrect posture at your computer it can lead to initial discomfort, fatigue, pain and possibly long-term injury. Your workstation should be set up to suit the tasks you are doing and to help with your posture.

Other hazards in the office

Office equipment is not the only cause of hazards in the office. Other potential hazards include:

Ergonomic hazards

Manual Handling

Manual handling is any activity that requires you to lift, lower, push, pull, move, hold or restrain an object. For example, in an office you may:

View the videos below to help with your understanding of ergonomics.

1. Access the Comcare safety site and look for the hazards in the workplace Virtual office

2. Access the Queensland Health and Safety website and research Ergonomics.


Assessment: Task 2. Listen to the transcript below. Choose to create podcast (What is a podcast?) or oral presentation. Complete task and drop into the digital dropbox.

Screencast of using audacity.

Julie Michaels

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Intro / Greg / Task / Article / form

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