For more information on offices click here for the relevant chapter of the TUC guide to health and safety "Hazards at Work

Offices can be hazardous workplaces but often the risks that office workers face are downplayed. Many non-fatal injuries to employees in the office-based industry are not reported, making official statistics unreliable. Office workers also suffer from occupational ill health, but ill-health statistics for office workers are often not available or again are an understatement of the true picture.

It is often claimed that, while health and safety is important in industry, it is not really necessary in most workplaces, such as offices which the government calls “low risk”. This is not true. Offices have different risks to factories but are not necessarily safer. The group that includes one of the highest proportion of office workers, public administration, actually has one of the highest rates of over three-day injury, although it does have fewer fatal and very serious injuries. Both stress-related illnesses and RSI are more common in offices and between them they account for over 70 per cent of all work-related illness. Unfortunately there is still a view that these illnesses are less worthy of sympathy or action than injuries caused by 'accidents'.

In addition, some offices or office buildings may be only one part of a workplace, attached to hospitals or schools. Office workers in this situation may share some of the health and safety problems of other workers.Many of the hazards that office workers face are dealt with in detail elsewhere in these pages.

HSE Office safety pages http://www.hse.gov.uk/office/index.htm

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