OSH Answers Fact Sheets
Easy-to-read, question-and-answer fact sheets covering a wide range of workplace health and safety topics, from hazards to diseases to ergonomics to workplace promotion. MORE ABOUT >
What does an office worker do?
Office staff may type or file documents, correspondence, reports, statements and other material. Their workstation usually has a computer/laptop/keyboard and telephone, among other equipment.
The main duties of an office worker include:
- Answer telephone or personal enquiries.
- Photocopy and collate documents.
- Maintain and update filing, inventory, mailing and database systems.
- Open, sort and route incoming mail and courier packages.
- Process reports, applications, receipts, expenditures and other documents, using a computer.
What are some health and safety issues for office workers?
Office environments present a number of hazards, including:
- Perfumes and other scents (potential allergens).
- In some cases, exposure to cleaning products.
- Indoor air quality or exposure to toxic substances.
- Sitting for long periods of time.
- Working in from awkward positions, or performing repetitive manual tasks.
- Lifting awkward or heavy objects.
- Eye strain.
- Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) from excessive computer use or improper ergonomic situations.
- Improperly adjusted chairs.
- Working in uncomfortable temperatures.
- Annoying or distracting noise and vibration from electronic equipment.
- Slips, trips and falls.
- Injuries from falling files or other objects
- Cuts from office tools such as scissors, mail openers, etc.
- Risk of violence.
- Working alone.
What are some preventive measures for office workers?
- Learn about how to avoid musculoskeletal pain or injury from repetitive or physically awkward tasks. Take breaks as needed.
- Learn safe lifting techniques.
- Keep all work areas clear of clutter.
- Set-up your workstation ergonomically. Have a competent person assess your workstation for ergonomic issues.
- Know how to relax strained body parts by doing correct stretching exercises.
- Know emergency evacuation plan and procedures.
- Know personal or individual risk factors.
Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.