Compared to a construction site, offices are usually deemed a lot safer for workers. However, office environments still have their fair share of workplace incidents and accidents.
Physical and psychological harm caused by falls or slips, stress, poor workstation set-ups or toxic environments are the most common risks that can occur in the corporate world. These negatively impacts workers’ health and wellbeing, leading to a downturn in their performance (WorkSafe NZ).
Under the HSWA 2015, PCBUs have a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of workers are not put at risk. Businesses must be pro-active in identifying and managing work-related risks, and eliminating or minimising them so far as is reasonably practicable.
So how do businesses prepare for these common risks?
- Toxic work cultures – Bullying, harassment and discrimination are a few of the many examples that make up a toxic work culture. Closing down on inappropriate behaviour is the first step in creating a positive workplace that encourages respect and inclusion. Employers should set an example through providing strong leadership, fostering good work relationships and putting in place trusted policies to address poor behaviour. Talk to our team at Working Wise about our Workplace Bullying and Unacceptable Behaviour programme to tackle this risk.
- Stress – High workload, job insecurity, lack of management support and poor policies are cited as main triggers of work related stress (more). Organisations should be supportive when it comes to stress by having systems in place which allows workers to notify employers their feelings of distress. Employers should also treat reports at face value to ensure that the causes are immediately eliminated or minimised. Contact us about our GOSH system if you’re looking to provide workers with a simple way to report stress or discomfort. Workers can fill out a basic online form that is strictly confidential so they can report in confidence.
- Falls, trips or slips – These risks can be caused by a range of factors such as clutter, poor lighting or uneven surfaces, and can result in extremely serious injuries. Businesses should do what they can to eliminate or minimise all hazards and risks in the workplace. For instance, maintain flooring in good condition by regularly checking for damaged or worn flooring and repair them if required. Furthermore, workers are the eyes and ears of your business. They may be able to identify hazards that employers may have missed. Having a system like GOSH in place allows them to easily report any hazards or risks they find around the workplace.
- Ergonomic injuries – Office workers are usually always seated at their desks staring at a computer screen, making them prone to repetitive strains and other injuries. Thus, ergonomic workstations are a crucial part of minimising this risk. Employers can increase comfort for workers as well as increase productivity for the business by offering workstation assessments to staff. Contact us if you would like to organise workstation assessments to prevent long-term injuries from occurring.
In a general sense – employers can follow the ‘Plan, Do, Check & Act’ Framework designed by WorkSafe NZ. This 4-step process helps businesses manage health and safety and ensure that they are carrying out effective risk management.
If you’re an employer who needs further assistance with identifying, monitoring, eliminating or minimising work-related hazards and risks, contact Working Wise by filling out our online form or giving us a call on 04 499 0710.