Health hazards don’t just exist in manual labor jobs and laboratories. Your office may have its own selection of hidden dangers. Avoiding the obvious health and safety precautions, here are a few health hazards that could be worth tackling.
Don’t worry, your keyboard won’t kill you, but it could be making you ill. The average computer keyboard contains five times more germs than a toilet seat. Research from the Royal Society of Chemistry has meanwhile found even more horrifying research, discovering that at night mice are not only scurrying over our work keyboards looking for food but also leaving their droppings. It’s thought that many colds and stomach bugs are caught through sharing keyboards. Taking time to once in awhile clean keyboards (including removing keys) could be the solution.
Unclean air con
Air conditioning units can be an even more dangerous source of germs. Dust and bacteria can often build up in these units, especially if they have not been used in a while (over the winter period, for example). This then gets pumped around the air and can make everyone sick. In serious cases, unclean air con can even bring on potentially lethal lung disease such as legionnaires. Getting your air conditioning unit cleaned and serviced on an annual basis can prevent this. Alternatively, there are air conditioning units out there that have an auto-clean function that could be worth investing in.
Faulty safety equipment
Most of us understand the importance of supplying safety equipment such as fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide monitors. But not all of us check that these devices are still working after years of gathering dust on a wall or ceiling. Fire alarm system maintenance could be worth paying for to check that your alarm is definitely working. This is especially worth investing in if the fire alarm was there before you took over the property.
Bad building materials
If your office is in an old building, some of the materials in the walls could be potentially hazardous. These include substances such as asbestos and lead that were once commonplace in construction but have since been banned. Both lead paint and asbestos aren’t lethal unless chipped. However, all it takes is for a small particle to be released in the air and ingested, and you could end up with lead poisoning or mesothelioma as a result. In both cases, it’s best hiring a professional to remove these substances if you believe the office may contain them.
Being chained to a desk all day also has its bad health effects. Most of it has to do with our posture and our constant sedentary position. Sitting down all the time can cause the muscle in the stomach to waste away. Being stooped over a desk meanwhile, affects our neck and back. Special ergonomic desk chairs could be worth buying to help with posture. A stand-up desk meanwhile could be a bold step to prevent you sitting down, although you may find it more easy to simply get up and move around regularly.