Office Safety and Good Housekeeping Practices

Many office accidents are caused by poor housekeeping practices. By keeping the office both neat and clean, you can eliminate most slipping, tripping, and falling hazards.

Other good housekeeping practices include the following:

  • Ensure that office lighting is adequate and available. Request that burned out light bulbs are replaced.
  • Ensure that electrical cords and phone cords do not cross walkways or otherwise pose a tripping hazard. If you cannot move a cord, have a new outlet installed or secure the cord to the floor with cord covering strips. Do not tape cords down or run them underneath carpet.
  • Report or repair tripping hazards such as defective tiles, boards, or carpet immediately.
  • Clean spills and pick up fallen debris immediately. Even a loose pencil could cause a serious falling injury.
  • Keep office equipment, facilities, and machines in good condition.
  • Store items in an approved storage space. Take care to not stack boxes too high. Ensure that boxes are clearly labeled with their contents.

File Cabinets and Shelves

Because file cabinets and shelves tend to support heavy loads, treat them with special care.

Follow these safety guidelines for file cabinets:

  • Secure file cabinets that are not weighted at the bottom. Have them either bolted to the floor or to the wall.
  • Do not block ventilation grates with file cabinets.
  • Ensure that file cabinet drawers cannot easily be pulled clear of the cabinet.
  • Open only one drawer at a time to keep the cabinet from toppling.
  • Close drawers when they are not in use.
  • Do not place heavy objects on top of cabinets. Be aware that anything on top of a cabinet may fall off if a drawer is opened suddenly.
  • Close drawers slowly using the handle to avoid pinched fingers.
  • Keep the bottom drawer full. This will help stabilize the entire cabinet.


Read about SJSU Human Resources Department's approach to the prevention of ergonomic injury.