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Safety in Offices


School of Engineering



1. General

Offices are generally regarded as safe places because there are no obvious hazards. However, the modern office contains many items which if incorrectly used or stored can lead to accidents. The following instruction is provided to give guidance on how to minimise hazards in offices.

2. Legislation and Codes of Practice

ALL office workers / occupiers should be conversant with University Codes and Practices with respect to offices and office equipment. The relevant regulations are The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 and The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992.

3. Workstation Assessment

All computer facilities, designated as workstations, within offices will be subject to a risk assessment as required by The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992. Guidance in relation to how to set up your workstation so that you do not experience discomfort whilst you are working at the University of Warwick is available via the following link: Computer Workstation Guidance

4. Cleanliness

ALL offices will be kept clean and tidy and will contain appropriate furniture which will be well arranged to give adequate space. Offices considered unsafe by cleaners because of strewn papers, equipment, etc. will not be cleaned. Caution should be paid to disposal of items that could cut or spill from a waste bin. Tip liquids, such as tea/coffee away before disposing a cup in the bin and if disposing of tins, ensure the lids are placed inside, so not likely to cut anyone.

5. Storage

ALL office storage will be appropriate with particular care being taken with filing cabinets and shelves to ensure that they are used appropriately and items are stored sensibly. Papers, books and the like must be stored properly and not on floors or chairs. Caution must be paid not to overload shelves and consideration must be made to how you will access the items without causing a risk of falling. Should you need to access shelving at high level, you must use a suitable step ladder or step-up.

6. Non-Office Equipment

Any extraneous items, equipment and samples not normally associated with offices should not be stored in offices. This includes bicycles.

7. COSHH Assessments

Materials stored in offices which fall into the category of hazardous substances must be stored appropriately and a copy of the Material Safety Data Sheet kept with it for reference. The storage of these types of substances in offices is to be discouraged.

8. Lifting and Carrying

Guidance around manual handling, which includes lifting, carrying, pulling or pushing can be found via the following link: Manual Handling

9. Electrical Safety

Guidance around electrical equipment, particularly electrical safety can be found using the following link: Electrical Safety. Specific information around portable appliance testing can also be found from this page. Any electrical equipment faults associated with your office equipment must be reported to the Electrical Technicians in the School of Engineering

10. Multiple Occupancy Offices

Where there is double occupancy of offices, individuals should be considerate of other persons with respect to drying of sportswear, bringing in hot food to eat and noise etc.