Office environment hazards

Offices are generally considered to be low risk work environments. However this will only be the case if risks are managed well. Whilst physical injuries may be rare many office workers can experience work-related ill health, the most common problems being aches and pains from using computers and work related stress.

The Office Risk assessment (.docx) is a generic risk assessment template to assist managers’ risk assess their offices. Employees should ask to see the office risk assessment for their area.

Computers (display screen equipment)

Staff may suffer from aches and pains as a result of poor posture, workstation arrangement or prolonged use. This can become persistent or occasionally disabling. Eye discomfort or headache may also be caused by poor lighting or screen image, or prolonged use.


Staff could suffer from work-related stress as a result of work pressure, lack of job control, inadequate support or concerns relating to their role, relationships or change. Prolonged stress can lead to temporary physical and mental health effects. If not addressed, staff may develop significant mental or physical health problems.

Manual handling

Repetitive or prolonged periods of lifting, stretching and reaching may lead to back pain or other manual handling related injuries. Lifting of heavy or unbalanced loads incorrectly may also cause these injuries which can become persistent or occasionally disabling.

Slips, trips and falls

Injuries to staff or visitors may be caused by slip and trip hazards such as spillages, trailing cables, uneven flooring, loose carpet - occasionally leading to serious injury. Staff may also fall when retrieving items stored at height, potentially resulting in serious injury.

Fire and emergency

Failure to evacuate safely could lead to staff and visitors suffering from smoke inhalation or burns if trapped in office and can potentially be fatal. People with limited mobility may have difficulty evacuating.

If you have a permanent or temporary disability you will need a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP)Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP)Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP).

Work equipment and electrical safety

The use of unsafe electrical equipment can lead to electrical shocks or fire. Burns and cuts can also occur from incorrect use of office work equipment (eg laminators). Some electrical equipment is prohibited from offices because of the high risk of fire.

Personally owned equipment

Personally owned equipment used for work will need to be authorised by your head of department or line manager, as it is legally considered to be work equipment. The equipment will also need to be included in portable appliance testingportable appliance testingportable appliance testing. This excludes mobile/smart phones or tablet computers with charging equipment that has a transformer or USB port as part of the plug.


Staff may feel too hot/cold leading to general discomfort and low productivity.

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Workplace Health, Safety and Wellbeing
Telephone: 01206 872944