Simple Solutions for Office Hazards

Office work spaces often have overlooked hazards that threaten the physical
well-being of all who enter. Company co-workers or, if work is done from a home
office, family members and pets, unknowingly can be in harm's way. While some
threats are fairly obvious, others can lurk in the most unexpected places.

In the office, equipment cables and wires can become a trip-and-fall hazard -
and an expensive workers' compensation case. Poised and ready to trip all who
pass, office cables and wires are far more than an unsightly nuisance. Slips,
trips and falls constitute the majority of general industry accidents. In the
United States, they cause 15 percent of all work-related deaths and are second
only to motor vehicles as a cause of fatalities, according OSHA.

In a home office environment, small children and common household animals like
cats, dogs, rabbits and ferrets often see equipment wires as play things - all
too often as chew toys. Clearly such a circumstance puts the child or pet at
great risk, with electric shock and strangulation at the top of the list.

Cable Control on the Cheap: For just a few dollars, computer cables can be
easily shielded with a split wire loom, a flexible and durable polyethylene
corrugated tube with a split down the side where you enter your multi-cable
bundle. If you have to add another wire later on, you can easily slip it into
the split wire loom along with the others without removing the entire bundle.

Achieve Lift-Off: Cables, power adapters, power strips, hubs, modems and other
small devices can be readily lifted off the floor and put safely out of harm's
way with cable management products that loop, tie and hang "cable clutter" off
the floor to reduce work space risks including snags, trips and liquid spills.

Wire Fire Can Be Dire: With a glut of equipment, wiring and electrical outlets
conducting heat, often over long periods of time and in compact spaces, fire
safety is an important workspace consideration. In addition to the standard
fire extinguisher, other fire safety measures also should be employed. Flame
spread is one vital safety consideration that easily can be addressed.
Flame-retardant wire sleeving that does not support combustion can
significantly reduce office fire hazards. You also can establish an effective
insulating barrier to prevent the spread of fire and smoke through structural
gaps and voids with fire-rated expanding polyurethane foams - a cost-effective
way to establish an insulating seal on concrete, brick, wood, metal, aluminum
and steel.

An Important Mat-ter: Use traction floor mats in high-traffic and extended-use
areas, particularly those prone to moisture or spills. Be sure to use a floor
mat with beveled edges to eliminate trip risk. Mats with sponge bases will
enhance ergonomic safety for employees who must stand for longer periods of

Surface Raceways: Home office wires that run across the floor to a distant
outlet are among the most dangerous office situations, with a high risk of
injuries or damaged equipment. Fortunately, surface raceways are a readily
available and easy way to organize and protect electrical cords that run along
the floor or on the wall. These "cable channels" are made of tough PVC and can
be painted to match office décor.

Cord Protectors: These wire cover systems are another great way to keep from
tripping on loose cables and cords running across a walkway or behind your
desk. Cord protectors cover, hide and protect cords and cables while keeping
floors clear and safe. They also lie flat, and stay flat, and are easy to

Heavy Metal: Whether you want greater protection for your wires from children,
animals, rodents or pests, or have a need to protect outdoor fiber optics, RG-6
coaxial cable or Category 5E cables from wildlife or the elements, metal
braided sleeving, made from tin-coated copper, is both flexible and strong, and
also offers electromagnetic interference (EMI) protection.

Take the Edge Off: Wrap anything with a sharp edge such as broken/cracked
glass, brittle plastic casings or other materials that may break and produce a
sharp or rough edge in corrugated cardboard and secure with a heavy-duty duct
tape to protect yourself and others from accidental lacerations. This is
especially important before placing such items in a trash container.

More information - Source: EHS Today