Almost every industry has some office work, and many jobs involve computer use. People may work out of business hours, and work from laptops, tablets and phones.
Some basic things can go a long way towards safer work - like good communication and making sure people are set up properly wherever they’re working.
Common hazards and risks in office work
Common hazards or risks in office work generally come from psychosocial effects and hazardous manual handling, for example:
- repetitive work, like computer use
- sitting for long periods
- poorly designed workstations
- lifting, handling and moving office equipment and supplies
- tripping on objects on the floor or power cords
- workplace bullying, harassment and occupational violence
- work-related stress
Making office work safer
Our tools and guides can be used to assess and control the specific risks in your workplace. For a complete guide to risk management and making office work safer, see Officewise.
Involving your employees in health and safety issues can result in a safer workplace. That's why consultation is an important part of risk management. In certain situations employers must consult about health and safety issues with employees and health and safety representatives (HSRs) if they have them. See 'consultation' for detailed information.
Risk management process
- Find the hazards in your workplace.
- Assess the risks associated with those hazards. You don’t have to do a formal risk assessment if there is already information about the risk and how to control it.
- Control the risks.
- Monitor and review your risk controls. Revise the controls if they are not working.
Health and safety legal duties
Under Victorian occupational health and safety law, there are specific duties to ensure health and safety in workplaces. For more information about your duties, see occupational health and safety – your legal duties.
Examples of employer duties:
- For your employees, you must provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and free of risks to health, so far as is reasonably practicable. Employees may include contractors and agency staff.
- Give your employees the necessary information, instruction, training or supervision to enable them to do their work in a way that is safe and without risks to health.
- Ensure that the conduct of your business does not endanger other people (including visitors, the public and other workers).
- Report notifiable incidents to WorkSafe
Examples of employee duties:
- Take reasonable care for your health and safety in the workplace. You must also take reasonable care for the health and safety of others who may be affected by what you do or don’t do.
- Cooperate with your employer about any action they take to comply with the OHS Act or Regulations. For example, use equipment properly, follow safe work policies and procedures and attend training.
- Don’t intentionally or recklessly interfere with or misuse anything at the workplace to support health, safety and welfare.