Cubicle catastrophes

Safety hazards in an office setting

February 21, 2008

How many hazards can you find in this staged photo?

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Related article: 25 steps to a safer office


  1. Cords running across an office can be a tripping hazard and should be avoided.
  2. Materials such as boxes should be stacked no higher than 18 inches beneath a sprinkler to ensure the sprinkler’s effectiveness.
  3. Ensure space heaters are approved for commercial use, and never leave them unattended or near any combustible materials.
  4. Boxes should not block an exit path.
  5. Never leave file cabinets open and unattended; someone could trip over or bump into them.
  6. Paper cutters should be guarded and closed when not in use.
  7. All food should be properly stored; studies show 400 times more germs are present on a desktop than on the average toilet seat.
  8. Keyboards should be adjustable to improve comfort and reduce strain.
  9. Electrical hazards are one of the leading causes of office fires; never overload an outlet.
  10. Keep papers clear from devices such as hot plates, and never leave them on while out of the office.
  11. Coffee cups should have a lid to reduce spills.
  12. Chairs should be ergonomic and include arm rests and an adjustable back.