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25112
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office hazards

in office setting, what are some hazards for safety that is not very obvious?

an example will be wire clutter in floor.. any other thoughts to add to it?
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25112

8/22/2022 - Mon
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Cornelia Yoder

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phoffric

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phoffric

Thumbtacks from wall falling on floor or chair.
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SunBow

Inappropriate socializing between team members outside of the office.  Stressful environments can lead to mental illness.

Anecdotal story removed by Moderator 5/5/14
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viki2000

Just to make some people happy, I would add few more things to the requested list:
1) Objects which may drop from heights.
yodercom already mentioned in the beginning “Stacked boxes or equipment”, but I remember something else. When we built the company, a part of the factory was finished and started to produce the end products, but some parts from administration still had scaffold around. Whenever we had to go in/out we had to use hard hats, of course not in the office. That applied also when we had to go from administration building to the offices inside the production facility.
2) Sounds.
Going from administration building to the offices inside the factory, which ran with loud noise, we had to use industrial safety year protection. Sometimes the noise from production penetrated the walls of the office inside the plant and was not always easy to focus.
3) Signs and labels.
If the office is placed in the big building, you may be in trouble to find your way around or what you need if things are not marked proper around, especially when you are new. I had one month daily training inside to one of the Siemens facility. There is a like a small town inside and the buildings have many floors, combining administration, managing, engineering and production. I was happy with the good german marking system.
A bad example: when you build a factory, many times your office is a temporary one, mostly an improvisation, a transformed container, but you need network, computers and at that time a fax machine. When you move around the world and the mains do not matches then you use transformers. I remember an improper labeled mini transformer, and therefore wrong settings, which made the fax machine smoking in 5 min after the connection…
4) Communication, language.
As I worked enough years in international companies, I know what bad things may happen when somebody says something and the other understating totally different. Sometimes we had to use the walky-talky stations because at that time the mobile phones were not so popular as today and we did not have to pay for a service. When the noise from production is around, and the people do not speak proper the language then the situation becomes worse.
Here I may give an example which nobody from my colleagues can forget. Even if did not happen in the office, so somehow you may not include it at the office hazards, it is related with the office, language and labels. A young man died in an awful way crushed by 2 big gears, first the hand then the head, because he locked the wrong equipment and misunderstood the meaning of the labels. Even if that was a yard accident, so not in the office, people from the office were partial responsible because the labels were not translated in the local language, because somebody like him was hired on that position without understanding proper the language, a commission with inspection arrived and took measures, changed things around and some people from office had to pay for that.
5) Electromagnetic fields.
I know not all the people agree on this subject, as I already discussed it in the past, but here is my view.
If your office is at the top of the building and you have emission antennas on the roof, I would not feel comfortable. I speak about GSM antennas or radio-TV.
Here is another story based on my experience. It is not in the office, but tells about the effects of electromagnetic fields. Special machinery was installed in the factory. It was a press and an oven in the same time. It worked with high power and high frequency electromagnetic waves as 3.5 MHz and 10KV. When the maintenance team opened the covers under the machinery where the oscillator was placed, having a triode with the same size and power as in radio stations, and a test was done, the fields were so strong that a fluorescent tube kept in the hand at 50cm close to the machinery just lit up as in the experiments with Tesla coils or Star Wars swords. Later I discussed with the man who installed the equipment and worked many years with such machinery. He said, based on his experience, that only women should work as operators to such machinery, and not pregnant. A man will become sexual impotent after some years…
Please do not tell me about the limits from standards and research. I worked couple of years with people who are part of panel groups which makes standards in EU. Not to mention a confirmation from my neighbor that has a doctor degree in bio-chemistry and worked in at least 8 important EU institutes/universities in the last 12 years.

Sorry if you do not like my stories, but everyone has to learn from life and is recommended to not take the ostrich position.
Your help has saved me hundreds of hours of internet surfing.
fblack61
SunBow

Yeah, right on, speed_54,
Twas a time users would reach up and stuff objects into ducts to reduce A/C chill (1st in line for blast) later observed duct-taping large envelopes more obviously construed to enable undo function. Not too dissimilar the thermostat placement inside manager office (who closes door policy), and other inside closet - hail remodeling efforts. Not too dissimilar at least two new buildings having lengthy hallways leading to .... nowhere / dead end <phew>. Imagine attempting to evacuate where visibility reduced from the effects of smoke. No remodeling plans as yet. <ugh> [politics]. Also consider that all doors should open outward towards exit. While that may be a law, observation has it as incomplete in implementation, and for the 'restrooms' adherence may be gender specific. (so where's the 'wipes? -- hopefully paper towel remains in use, discard after exit)

For another hazard, there's the use of elevator. More than once for both: fire began at motor (unseen to staff), smoke going down shaft; - cable issue where it fell to bottom with person inside. Not so many floors, but it hurts. Recommending both: regular inspections, deny usage during fire. While electrical issue may enclose one for long duration <cough>, many buttons act not on physics of depression but heat of fingers - hence elevator can automatically take one straight to the fire (heat source).

Pre-Y2K had an emphasis on PCBs. These products are big hazard that are contained in old electrical transformers. Post Y2K I dunno on it. May be dependent on age of local constructions, how much new-age is applicable (like issue of asbestos - should be a non-issue, but then again..)

Post 9/11 for building saw increase in attention/deployment of various building barriers to vehicles, greatest near building main entrance/exit. You should by now have seen many occasions where vehicles crash through outer wall of building workplace. (resisting attaching a jpg sample) So then, we had someone somehow traverse long wayward path to hit doorless side of building, tree lined streets. More fences built, more sturdy replacements ordered. More jobs to defend us from the .... idiots.
nobus

don't forget earth rays, and water streams in the underground, as well as GSM and other wireless aereals...
viki2000

Nice try, but let’s turn it in something helpful for number 25112:
1) Speaking about “water streams in the underground”, actually yodercm had the first idea with streams over the head, the “sprinklers”, which if they are bad placed relative to electricity on the room, which sometimes can have a backup system, and something unpleasant happens and the sprinklers start to do their job, then you may end in losing the work, electrical devices in the office or in the worst case to get electrical shocks…
What tragedy, to die in the office, working at PC.
2) Speaking about rays, let’s think at visible rays from the luminaries above your head. If the lamps are bad placed, wrong type or the light is not enough or too much that’s bad for your health.
GSM was already covered in the previous comments :)
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aadih

Contributors warrant respect whether understood well or not in an international community as well as in the workplace ...

Well said. :-)
viki2000

Many of the suggestions above may go under the dome: “safety devices which under certain conditions become hazards”, when an unexpected failure happens or the foreseen conditions change dramatically.
The author 25112 did not mention what kind of office are we talking about and therefore many of the suggestions may not apply at all or in a special case additional items may be added to the requested list.
For instance, is it a gun in the drawer a hazard or a safety device? Many CEO’s have one.
aadih

One internal one: your mind.

Applies always. Every place at all times under all circumstances. ;-)
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William Peck
viki2000

Agree.
But if I understand right the main question, 25112 refers to physical objects, that's why the human nature and social relations, were also not seen as expected answers.
Can we exclude these things and focus only on external objects?
aadih

Yes, of course, we knew the object-oriented focus.

But really? One may be angered by some comments, lost in thoughts, and run into a wall or walk through a glass door.  Happens (as) you know. And who has not heard of the greatest work hazard, the dreaded stress?  Workplace (even school) shootings?

One may think they (the mind's tricks) can be excluded, but they cannot be.

Anyways, no harm.  Is there?

But agree it has gone as far as it can go. But even this: who knows?
viki2000

The forums aim is to help getting answers and one consequence is the brainstorming, which sometimes acts as a multicore processors.

Here is another story.
Few months ago I had a discussion with a friend, plant manager in a factory somewhere on a nice island. Don’t ask names. He told me about his brother, who has a good position in IT working for a certain air plane company and to get in the office he has to pass many security systems. There is a hierarchically supervision system with door locks, cameras, RFID checking points, computer under remote control…everything is related with safety to avoid any information leaking to outside.
Such person, if he wants, can be a good hacker. Of course he will not do things to compromise his position, integrity, job, carrier…, but just to “help” his brother, small things which makes “no harm”, he made easy and fast, as for instance going on main server which provides the internet connection and change the basic account settings for minimum speed to the highest possible speed for that type connection, removing other limits for Amazon account website related with watching movies online…., then he told to his brother: do you think the IT security promoted as image to give you the safety feeling is indeed for real? It is not. It is more the image to make you trust a certain system.
Then I remembered a documentary about those East European hackers who broke the IT security at Pentagon, NASA and some other important servers. If you want to watch it I can search the video link. They made no harm, except that put naked girls on those servers and other stupid things like that, they published the IP of the servers in closed hackers community and everything was done only to boast, to show how good they are. Some of them were traced; security guys from US came around and a deal was made: either to support the consequences or to work for internet security, under supervision, at national level. Of course they accepted the second proposal…and later even other important companies offered them jobs with important revenues, in the range of 250K USD/year, but some refused for different reasons. Important part is what they said about the security in IT, after they change the sides.
First, they were absolutely aware of the IT security war in the world and one of them mentioned that next world war has big chances to be started by people with good hackers behind. Even if the main controlling digital systems of the rockets have no contact with the external world, somebody will make a mistake once, the human error, and is enough for a smart guy to get the control, to place a virus, whatever…They actually said: if we did it and we have no IT university degree, just that we spent enough time to learn the hacking tools, then others can do it even better than us with more knowledge and better tools.
The second thing that remained in my mind was supervising of the traffic on certain international points. They mentioned that are groups with expensive equipment, very fast and that’s why hard to track. These groups have very high speed internet connections and copy data in very high volumes from different servers during the last years, which is not a good sign.
I will stop here with this subject.

I just wanted to point that your main toll in the office, your PC, may be a hazard object, if contains important data which may be an interesting subject to the hackers.
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aadih

With "Anyways, no harm.  Is there?" I meant: There is no harm in talking about mental aspects also rather than focusing solely on "external objects."

Sorry, I didn't make it clearer.  :-(
viki2000

I know you would like it, but I am not so sure about the others.
Besides, you may risk a yellow card and I, a red one :), don’t forget the uncle Sam is watching us :)
In exchange I propose a different approach, good for all participants and especially for the author of the question.
Providing little information is as worse as providing too much information. Too much information generates confusion and you have to put additional effort in filtering.
I hope the answers so far provided enough information to make the requested list with office hazards, but why not helping 25112 filtering the information by answering the next logical question that the author should put: what things in the office are not hazards?
viki2000

Nevertheless, let’s then make the last suggestions to the office hazards:
1) Violence.
Sometimes angry customers or even colleagues may hurt you.
2) Sick buildings
Use plants to clean the air: http://www.colormegreenco.com/NASA/nasa2.htm 
3) Toilets Hygiene
http://www.comcare.gov.au/virtual_workplaces/virtual_office/shower_block
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rwheeler23
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Cornelia Yoder

That's well said, nickg!   As a long time EMT on an ambulance squad, I can assure you that getting to a victim quickly can be a real mess in a large or chaotic environment like an office building.  

Normally it's best if you don't try to move the victim "down to the emergency vehicle", let the ambulance crew do that.

Provided there is no safety issue for anyone else, it is far better to have someone go down, meet the ambulance in an obvious place (wave them down if necessary), and guide them directly to the victim.   That is the most efficient and safest way to get help.
viki2000

Nice job WhackAMod.
One thing I know for sure: you enjoyed some stories before deleting them... :))
25112

ASKER
thanks all.. I have a thesis (research) level info to be careful. THANKS all, again!!!
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