It’s unlikely that your office workplace – with its desks and computers and conference rooms – would be at the top of your list of hazardous places to work. Surely, working on construction sites or being in the emergency services are more hazardous than an office job. However, your seemingly safe workplace could be posing a risk to your health. Here are a few reasons why, and what you can do to stay healthy at the office.
Your Dirty Keyboard
Did you know that computer keyboards are often discovered to be much dirtier than toilet seats, with five times the amount of germs crawling all over them? Because a toilet seat (and everything else in a bathroom) will be sanitized on a regular basis, these spaces tend to be cleaner than a keyboard, which is rarely, if ever, cleaned.
Don’t feel too bad if you’ve never even thought about wiping down your keyboard; studies indicate that just one in 10 people cleans their keyboards, and one in five keeps their computer mouse germ-free. If you’re among the majority of people who don’t clean these things, it may be worth adding the task to your weekly routine – just switch everything off and wipe everything down with a disinfectant wipe on a Friday before you leave, and you’ll have a full week of cleanliness ahead of you.
Eating at Your Desk
Eating at your desk is another problem with cleanliness, and it may potentially be making you sick. No matter how cautious you are, crumbs will likely be left behind if you eat at your desk. This debris will attract ants, cockroaches, and rodents, and when you leave the office and the lights are turned out, they may be racing all over your desk and keyboard.
Even if your office doesn’t have a rodent problem, having decaying food in the place where you sit for so long each day is not good for your health either – you’ll be breathing in the bacteria causing the food to rot, potentially making you sick. Choose instead to have your meals either off-site or in a communal office dining space, which gives you the opportunity to take an actual break from your desk job.
When you work in a busy office, no one really wants to spend their time washing dishes, so very often mugs just get rinsed and left to drain. This means that germs may readily grow, and every time those cups are refilled, bacteria become mixed up in the drink and are ingested by unknowing workers, causing stomach issues and other health problems.
Invest in a small dishwasher that you can run overnight to ensure that the mugs are really clean, or set up a cleaning schedule that gives ample time to thoroughly wash, dry, and store the mugs every day. Alternatively, you may consider using eco-friendly disposable cups. Or, to be completely safe, why not bring a mug from home that you can take back with you, clean, and bring back the next day?
If you work in an older building, it’s possible that some of the materials used to construct it are hazardous. Asbestos and lead were once extensively used in construction work, and although this was stopped when the dangers were realized, if these materials were already in place, they were often left where they were.
The good news is that most of the time, if these hazardous construction materials are left alone, they do not create any problems. However, if they are damaged in any way (for example, by further construction work), or if they accidentally leak into the water supply, they may create severe health problems. At this point, anyone who is suffering from this kind of potentially fatal illness may need the help of a mesothelioma lawyer to claim compensation. It really is that serious.
You might need to find a specialist inspector to examine the building and identify what materials were used to build it. If hazardous elements are discovered, a team of experts can be recruited to remove them. It is critical that you never attempt any of these tasks yourself, because breathing in or ingesting even a small amount of these dangerous materials can cause health problems.