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Safe Work Practices for Office and Administrative Employees

These Safe Work Practices are provided for your information and education.  They are intended to provide you with basic safety and health information that will assist you in avoiding injury while performing your daily activities.

These Safe Work Practices are part of Section Two, Training and Education, of the Injury & Illness Prevention Program of Cabrillo Community College District, and are required by Section 3203 of Title 8, the mandatory safety legislation of Cal/OSHA.  You are obliged to follow these Safe Work Practices while performing your work activities. 

You are encouraged to contribute ideas to expand or improve these Safe Work Practices.

1. Warn others working in the area when a file drawer is open so they do not turn around or straighten up quickly.

2. Paper cutter should be provided with a finger guard.

3. Retaining spring on the paper cutter should be adjusted to hold the blade in the up position.

4. Lock paper cutter blade in down position when not in use.

5. Do not leave a knife or scissors on the desk with the point towards you.

6. Thumbtacks, razor blades, and other sharp objects should not be stored loose in a drawer. 

7. Use caution when cleaning up broken glass.  Do not place loose in trashcan.  Wrap in heavy paper and mark "Broken Glass".

8. Fans used in work areas should be equipped with proper guards, which prevent fingers from being inserted through the mesh.

9. Copiers should be turned off before attempting to remove jammed paper.

10. Organize workstations so that all materials are within easy reach.

Video Display Terminal Users

These specific Safe Work Practices for users of video display terminals and keyboards should be viewed not only as a way to prevent injury, but also as a way to maximize comfort on the job. Adjustments need to be made to each workstation to customize the station for maximum comfort and efficiency.  Most adjustments can be made using existing furniture and equipment.  If these safe work practices are implemented diligently, the employee should find work less stressful and less fatiguing from uncomfortable surroundings. 

1. Keyboard should be positioned so wrists and hands are straight or at no less than a 10% upward angle.

2. Keyboard slope should be between 0-25 degrees. 

3.  Adjust backrest of chair to maintain natural curve of lower back (a lower back pad, such as a pillow or rolled up towel, can support the lower back).

4. Adjust chair height so weight is shifted forward off spine and at keyboard level.

5. Keep feet flat on the floor to help maintain good posture and leg circulation.

6. If above adjustments do not permit your feet to rest on the floor, a footrest should be used.

7. Shift position frequently.

8. If possible, alternate different tasks throughout the day.

9. Be aware of the early warning symptoms of fatigue.  When the arm, hand, back, or neck begins to feel tired or strained, the body is signaling that it needs to take a break.

10. Adjust VDT screen to avoid glare.  Use contrast/brightness controls, position angle of screen, adjust nearby blinds or drapes, or use anti-glare filter. 

11. Regularly clean the screen. 

12. Adjust the height of chair to allow eyes and hands to be in the proper position in relation to screen and keyboard. 

13. Adjust VDT screen to be at least 18-30 inches from eyes. 

14. Eye to keyboard distance when seated should be between 17-20 inches. 

15. Eye to copy reading distance should be 12-16 inches. 

16.  Adjust VDT so that the top of the screen is below eye level; viewing angle should be 20 degrees or less. 

17. Learn and practice exercises that relieve eyestrain and fatigue, for example: 

  • Blink slowly and frequently to keep eyes moist.
  • Rest eyes from light, shape hands into shadow cups, and place lightly over closed eyes and hold for one minute.
  • Periodically look away from screen and focus on another object at least 20 inches away.
  • Roll eyes clockwise, then counterclockwise three times.



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