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Office Safety Compliance Guidelines

Office Safety Compliance Guidelines

 

INTRODUCTION AND SCOPE

Arizona State University (ASU) academic, research, and ancillary support operations, e.g., administrative services departments and student organizations, has office work space and office type environments to support each department or unit on campus. Occupational Safety and Health regulations require the university to maintain a safe work environment for all employees. ASU Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) is responsible for inspecting and ensuring compliance of applicable codes and regulations as well as develop and disseminate documentation to support a safe environment. This guideline is designed to disseminate general safety issues, and applicable code related issues in order to ensure a safe work environment and compliance of applicable codes.

REQUIREMENTS

General Safety Precautions/Awareness
An office environment is considered to be one of the safest work environments, therefore the focus of safety professionals and occupants are usually directed towards other operations for safety evaluations and code compliance issues (e.g., laboratories, assembly areas, and residential areas). To ensure a safe work environment, each individual must employ common sense, know physical limitations, display an attentive attitude towards their surroundings, and become aware of applicable compliance codes. The following are common safety related hazards and compliance to help ensure a safe environment and maintain compliance:

  1. Be aware of the surrounding terrain for slip and trip hazards and correct as necessary (e.g., waxed or wet floors or stairs, and other items obstructing or causing a trip hazard—wires, rugs, litter, and equipment).

  2. Know your limitations and use appropriate equipment/apparatus to prevent injury (e.g., strains, abrasions, or lacerations).

  3. Know and comply with applicable codes for use and storage of chemicals (e.g., flammable and combustible liquids, cleaning materials, and hazardous chemicals).

  4. Keep office areas clean, orderly, and sanitary (including exit passageways, storerooms, and service rooms).

  5. Improper storage of materials can lead to injury and violate the fire codes. Storage is prohibited in the following areas:

  • Under stairways or on stairwell landings.

  • In corridors or hallways.

  • On top of lockers, shelving units, cabinets, or other furniture units or equipment.

  • In a manner that obstructs the operation, visibility, and accessibility of fire protection equipment or devices.

  • In mechanical or electrical rooms.

  • Within 24 inches of the ceiling in non-fire sprinklered facilities.

  • Within 18 inches of the fire sprinkler deflector in facilities that have fire sprinklers protecting the area.

  1. Keep surfaces of stairs, ramps, and exit passageways free from defects, obstructions, debris, and loose items that can cause a slip, trip and fall hazard, or restrict egress.

Electrical Safety
Ensure that unsafe electrical conditions and practices are promptly reported to your supervisor and to Facilities Development and Management Customer Service Desk at 480.965.3363. Only authorized/qualified electricians may install, service, or repair electrical equipment or wiring. All electrical equipment and lighting must be tested and approved by a recognized testing laboratory, e.g., Underwriters Laboratory (UL). Periodic self-inspection should be conducted of your area for the following to help identify and correct electrical hazards and maintain compliance:

  1. Check to ensure receptacles and cover plates are serviceable and adequately placed for occupant use, as well as free of cracks/damage, and securely mounted. (Receptacles located outdoors, in damp areas, or located near a water source must have ground fault protection and rating.)

  2. Flexible cords, extension cords, multi-plug adapters, or similar electrical equipment is prohibited. (Exceptions: any adapter or cord that has an operational circuit breaker is acceptable as long as used within the recommended use, design, and load capacities of the manufacturer. Flexible cords and extension cords are acceptable for temporary use only and must be a minimum of 16 gauge with ground, three prong.)

  3. Electrical equipment cords and plugs must be of dead front construction with no metal exposed and the cord must be visible to inspect and in good condition.

  4. Electrical wires or cords cannot run through doorways, windows, floors, ceilings, or walls.

Review the Electrical Safety Compliance Guideline and Decoration/Display Compliance Guidelines for more detailed information.

Portable Heaters and Heat Generating Appliances/Devices
Appliances must be tested and approved, bare the label—Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) or other recognized testing laboratory. The appliance and cord must be in good condition and utilized in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Portable heaters and other portable heat generating equipment must have appropriate safety features to automatically shutoff power to equipment whenever tipped over or the temperature of the device exceeds the manufacturer’s pre-determined heat exposure limit. Portable heaters must always be positioned away from combustible materials.

Fire Protection and Prevention
All employees should be aware of the fire protection equipment within each facility they work or reside in, as well as know fire safety and prevention measures to ensure a safe environment. This can be accomplished through special training classes and employee development classes conducted by EH&S. This will help ensure employee awareness as well as the following common compliance issues:

  1. Maintaining the automatic operation of fire rated doors and maintaining a clear unobstructed exit passageway. All fire doors are designed to be latched closed or connected to the fire alarm system to automatically latch closed when the fire alarm system is activated.

  2. Maintaining public areas such as corridors free of obstruction and combustible materials, including the limitation of paperwork, posters, and similar combustible products on walls and doors.

  3. Maintaining a safe egress system by ensuring the exit system is maintained free of obstruction from equipment, bicycles, and vending machines.

  4. How to report a fire and how to evacuate a building as well as extinguish a fire.

APPLICABLE REGULATIONS

International Fire Code Chapter 3 Section 315 and Chapter 6 Section 605 (2003 edition)
29 CFR 1910 Subpart E
29 CFR 1910 Subpart L
29 CFR 1910 Subpart S
Arizona Administrative Code R4-36-201 et seq.

UNIVERSITY DOCUMENTATION AND MANUALS

Arizona State University Fire Prevention and Safety Plan

This guideline is provided as a general guideline for office safety practices and does not cover all code compliance issues. If you have any questions or concerns, or need additional information, contact the ASU Fire Marshal at 480.965.1823 or e-mail at EHS@asu.edu.