eSafetyFirst - Secretarial Work Safety


People working in clerical jobs are exposed to a series of occupational hazards on a daily basis. However, most of these risks can be partially alleviated or entirely avoided through appropriate safety training, since they are mostly related to interactions between colleagues. As such, offices around the world have implemented strict safety course requirements in order to safeguard the physical and psychological health of their workforce.

Potential Hazards

The most frequent hazards of secretarial work include:

  • Contagious Diseases.

    Much like therapists or food service workers, clerical employees come in contact with a large number of individuals on a daily basis. This increases their odds of being exposed to potentially contagious materials or people who might be carriers of infectious, viral, or fungal contagions. Since bloodborne pathogens may be present in any bodily fluid, improper indoor ventilation can help spread bacteria, thereby turning an overcrowded office into a hotbed for illnesses.
  • Inappropriate Interactions.

    Especially where female secretaries are concerned, there is a long history of sexual harassment in the workplace. Despite numerous governmental bodies fighting against inappropriate behavior in the workplace, whether in the form of harassment, bullying, or unfitting remarks, such conduct continues to be reported on a yearly basis. This points to the fact that one of the roots of the problem, namely the portrayal of women in business culture, remains largely unaddressed.
  • Ergonomic Injuries.

    Because secretarial workers have to spend many hours a day in a seated position performing a variety of clerical duties, they are exposed to an increased risk of ergonomic strains and musculoskeletal issues. These injuries only begin to show after extended periods of time in which an improper posture is maintained, which makes them difficult to detect early on. Most manufacturers now market a variety of adjustable furniture and equipment that facilitates a healthy workstation design.
  • Fire Safety.

    Thousands of office fires are reported on a yearly basis, most of which end up causing serious property damage and endangering the lives of workers. Especially in buildings where space heaters or various electrical appliances are used on a daily basis, employees must be made aware of the fire risks that surround them.

Incident Prevention

It is only through appropriate safety training that secretarial employees are made aware of the full range of occupational hazards they are exposed to. With this knowledge, they are better equipped to reduce risks, avoid accidents, and preserve their own wellbeing, as well as that of their colleagues.

In addition, a thorough set of courses on workplace harassment lays the foundation of acknowledging improper conduct before it becomes a problem. This will not only minimize the likelihood of incidents in the office, but also lessen the company’s liability by fostering a positive organizational culture. With appropriate safety training, secretarial employees will be able to prevent a wide range of occupational hazards – such as workplace harassment – that affect them and their colleagues on a daily basis.

What You Can Do to Stay Safe

For those working in secretarial positions or clerical jobs, it is essential that they become aware of the occupational hazards they are exposed to. Within Canada, the legislation clearly stipulates that the employer is responsible for informing their workforce with respect to such health risks. In addition, companies must provide safety courses that address the latter.

Whether you’re a secretary, assistant, or writer, the only way to combat these hazards is through appropriate safety training. For those looking to get hired in a position that requires secretarial work, undergoing the prerequisite safety training will go a long way towards preparing you for your job and it will also increase your odds of being successful in your application.

To consult a comprehensive list of safety courses best suited for secretarial work, please visit out Office Work industry page.

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