Friday, 27 June 2014

Teamwork Member Participation

Team goals and tasks required

Through teamwork, you become a contributor to the setting of the organization’s goals. Goals are the “big picture”. When they are broken down into manageable portions, they become tasks. Tasks must be measurable-they must be quantifiable and time-limited.

Goals should be clearly set and attainable. If team members contribute to the goal setting process they will have a vested interest in the goal being reached. They will then be more motivated and committed to achieving those goals. Each team member needs to fully understand the role he or she has to play and the nature of the tasks for which he or she will be responsible.

A goal is a target based on the results you want to achieve.

Team Cooperation to complete goals and tasks

A good team includes in its planning an agreement to cooperate with other members, so that the organization’s goals and objectives are met. By doing this it also draws on the strengths of its membership.

Through communication networks and sharing of information and problems, support is provided to members as that task is completed within given timelines.

Group dynamics

Group dynamics is a term used to describe the energy of a group or team working and interacting to meet a common goal. Group dynamics has a marked effect on both the quality and quantity of a team’s output.

Members benefit from the expertise of one another and gather strength and focus. A spirit of cooperation and respect becomes evident. The combination of personalities encourages team members to reach their potential.

Communication

The efficiency and productivity of a team are influenced by the way is which members communicate with each other. Members should speak and listen to individuals as well as the leader. Nobody should be left out.

Other factors which influence the effectiveness of communication are good listening skills and the ability to use and read body language. Body language messages may be conveyed by certain movements of our eyes, head, face, arms, hands, shoulders, or even they way we sit or stand.

Environment

The work environment may give team members an opportunity to:
  • Show support, encouragement, trust and understanding
  • Express their opinions
  • Contribute to the team’s goals
 Or give them feeling of being:
  • Restrained, punished or threatened



Thursday, 26 June 2014

Good time management skills


Responsibility for team tasks

A team member needs to accept responsibility for tasks entrusted to him or her. Completing tasks is a cooperative effort. Unless the team pulls together, the work will not get done.

Within a team, members will resume different rules according to their styles, skills and personalities. Some examples of the roles people can adopt are outlines below.

Chairperson
The person who leads the team

Plant
The creative person who thinks of new ways of doing things

Resource/Investigator
The person who develops contacts and brings new idea and information to the team

Monitor/evaluator
The person who judges accurately and stops the team from making wrong decisions

Coordinator
The person who promotes decision making

Shaper
The person who puts the team’s idea and goals into reality

Implementor
The person who puts ideas into practice

Completer/finisher
The person who delivers on time

These are all desirable roles in team membership. Some members are able to switch or take on various to allow goals to be achieved.

Once roles and styles are identified, allocating responsibility for particular tasks becomes easier. If the task in hand involved research, you need a resource/investigator. If it involves making judgement between alternatives, a monitor/evaluator is needed. A completer/finisher is always necessary to ensure that the task is completed within the given time frame.

Problems, options and solutions

Problems are given to teams to analyse and work through. Within a specified time, a team will be asked to provide some options and solutions. At times when there is no single clear answer, a process of discussion and negotiation will take place.

A good way to assist discussion and negotiation is to hold a brainstorming sessions. This encourages team members to contribute ideas in a non-threatening situation. It is surprising how easily ideas will flow once there is this sort of stimulation. People begin to see things in an innovative way.

Problem solving is the ability to find lasting solutions to complex problems. A successful team is able to focus on the problem, analyse and develop the options and put the solutions into practice.

Task reviewing and re-prioritizing

Many times in an office your carefully planned day and list of things to do today will be upset and thrown into chaos. Some of the reasons for this could be:
  • The unexpected need for you to attend a meeting
  • Having to fill in for an absent staff member
  • Having to attend to a more pressing project
 Designated timelines for tasks

When setting timelines, try to be realistic and operate within the resources at your disposal. Estimating times is difficult, but it will become easier with experience.

If you were asked to key in a 30-pages document on a word processor, how long would it take? It will depend on:
  • The number of other duties you have to complete
  • The complexity or technically of the language in the document
  • The difficult of the layout and design
  • Etc
It may be the organization’s policy for another staff member to help with collating and checking. In any case, when you are striving to meet deadlines, allow some leeway for unexpected interruptions and seek the support of other staff members so that goals and targets are met on time. Cooperating with others is a valuable part of teamwork.

Good time management skills and the ability to prioritize are keys to getting work done according to its degree or urgency. Keep your employer informed of the progress and constantly look for ways to improve your work habits.





Monday, 23 June 2014

Teamwork in the workplace

Schedule Organizing

Team – a group of people who work together to complete certain tasks and achieve particular goals. As soon as there is more than one person working on a given task or towards a common goal, a team is formed. There is no upper limit of people for a team, but when a group becomes larger it may be called a “department”. Some sources state that more than 12 people in a team makes it unmanageable, as the decision making is left to a few and others tend to take a back seat.

Within teams there are people with various strengths and abilities. A team is successful when these attributes are well combined.

Goals – the dictionary defines this word as: “the aims or purposes towards which effort is directed”.

If goals are set realistically, the level of performance is lifted. Often in your personal life you will say things like the following:
  • I would like to finish reading that book by Friday
  • On Wednesday of next week, I must tidy my bookcase
  • Tonight I am going to write a letter to may friend in Rome
  • This time next year I am going to Bali for a holiday
  • In three years’ time I will have saved enough money to buy a new car
 There are things really want to do and will work hard to achieve. The above goals are both short- and long-term in their timeframe. Short-term goals generally take between a few months and a year to achieve, and long-term goals are achievable within two or more years.

Team goals

In a work situation, you immediately become a member of team. Each person has his or her own area of responsibility, as described in the duty statement or job description. Management distributes various duties to staff so that the goals of the organization are reached on a daily or long-term basis. It is important that you know your responsibilities and play your part in completing the tasks which are assigned to you.

The setting of goals should:
  • Lead to higher performance
  • Allow team members to attempt more difficult tasks
  • Lead to higher goals being set (if team members participate in the goal setting)
  • Result in better performance (not simply goal attainment)
  • Give greater job satisfaction
  • Be clear, challenging and relevant to the purpose
  • Define clear roles for the team members
  • Assist in the attainment of the organization’s profit-making expectations
 To work successfully in team, each member should:
  • Respect the skills and expertise others
  • Have clear guidelines and a list of tasks and goals for the work entrusted to him or her
  • Share the decision-making process
  • Contribute to the quality of decisions made
  • Encourage all points of view
  • Seek solution to problem
  • Contribute to a positive team spirit
  • Etc
 Team goals are set in order to improve quality, output, standards, service and performance by using the team’s combined expertise and commitment to the goals

Time ad resources to complete tasks

Take time to analyse the steps involved in completing tasks. Make sure each stage is manageable within a given timeline. Plan to do things in the order of their importance. This is called “prioritizing” and is an important element of time management.

In work situation you will be given tasks to complete within given timelines. The effective use of time will increase you value to the organization. Learn to do the right thing at the right time, with reference to its priority.

“Plan your work and work your plan” is good advice. Writing down you commitments is a useful organization tool.





Sunday, 22 June 2014

Occupational Health and Safety

Power access

            Incorrect use of power to office equipment can case hazards. The following can be prevented by correct use of power access:
  • Electric shock
  • Jolting or falling
  • Burns
  • Fire
             Power accidents can be caused by unsafe work practices, work environments and/or poor insulation.

You should not:
  • Use double adaptors
  • Use frayed leads
  • Force plugs into sockets
  • Attempt to repair an electrical malfunction
 You should:
  • Positioning equipment close to power points
  • Plug in cords when the power is switched off
  • Use a “Standards” approved power board if several items of equipment are in use
  • Start up and use equipment in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions
  • Switch machines off in accordance with manual and manufacturer’s instructions
  • Remove plugs from power sockets by holding the plug (not the cord)
  • Ensure that the correct power sources voltage is used
  • Install and position equipment in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions
  • Refer to manufacturers’ manuals for correct power usage guidelines.
             As well as power dangers, lacerations and cuts from sharp objects and paper should also be prevented.

Safety procedures and work habits

            It is usual foe new office machines and equipment to be covered by supplier’s or manufacturer’s warranty for three to 12 months. This means that inherent defects of the machine will be repaired without charge. Remember that damage caused by misuse will have to be paid for by the owner.

            Organizations may take out maintenance agreements to cover service calls, but replacement parts usually incur an extra charge. The length of time a machine is out of service while waiting for repair (called “down time”) is a serious consideration.

            You can help keep expensive equipment in good working order by observing correct procedures and work habits. Some points to be bear in mind are:

You should not:
  • Eat, drink or smoke when working
  • Use correction fluids near equipment
  • Use household cleaners on machines-they usually contain ingredients that are too abrasive
  • Leave finger marks, dirt or correction fluid on the glass top or white surface of the photocopier
  • Locate your computer adjacent to electronic typewriter or facsimile machines-the magnetic radiation from them will affect the computer’s operation
 You should:
  • Use a soft brush to clean dust particles from keyboards
  • Use correct cleaning materials, for example solutions, sprays, wipes, wands, cleaning brushes and lint-free cloths (check with the supplier for advice)
  • Set up a cleaning materials kit close to the equipment
  • Establish a regular routine (preferably weekly) for cleaning equipment in your care
  • Investigate the availability of computer cleaning kits from chemical suppliers
  • Keep computers out of direct sunlight and make sure that vent have at least 20 mm of space so that the computer can “breathe”. Computers tend to overheat when there is insufficient space for ventilation
  • Use correct start up and shut down procedures to avoid corrupting and losing valuable data




Thursday, 19 June 2014

Type of Financial Documents

             An enquiry from a potential purchaser is the beginning of a financial transaction. The enquiry may be made by phone, in person or by ordinary or electronic mail.

            The potential seller will follow this through by giving details of prices, a description of the goods and services and providing price lists, brochures or catalogues. This will help the enquirer to make a decision.

            It is common practice to ask for quotation so that comparisons are made with quotes submitted by other organizations. Sometimes the purchasing department may ask for three quotations to be obtained.

            When the enquirer becomes a purchaser, the more formal documentation takes place.

Purchase requisition

            A purchase requisition is an internal document. It is not sent to a supplier. When a branch or department of an organization requires the supply of goods or services, a purchase requisition is raised.
           
            When the requisition is approved, it is sent to the purchasing departments. The purchasing department raises the purchase order.

            The purchase requisition is checked against the goods and services when they are received by the branch or department. The requisition is then moved from the “pending” file to the “completed” file.

Purchase Order

            A purchase order is raised either in response to receiving a purchase requisition or when good are required. A purchase order is an external document, which means that it is sent from the purchaser to a supplier. It is an instruction from one company (the purchaser) to another company (the supplier) to supply certain goods or services on credit. Purchase orders may be sent electronically.

            The purchaser retains a duplicate or an electronic copy of the purchase order. The purchase order records the number of the purchase requisition.

            The duplicate of the purchase order is checked against the invoice when the goods are received. Discrepancies between the purchase order and the delivery are noted and appropriate action is taken.

Invoice

            An Invoice is raised in response to receiving a purchase order. An invoice is an external document, which means that the original is sent by the supplier to the purchaser. The invoice may be sent either with the goods or by mail. The supplier retains the duplicate.

            An invoice should record the number of the purchase order.

            The delivery docket (a copy of the invoice, but without price) is forwarded with the goods. It is the responsibility of the person receiving the goods to check that the items delivered match the delivery docket and that they are in good condition.
           
            An invoice is an essential source document. The purchaser records details of the original invoice in the purchases journal, the supplier records details of the duplicate invoice in the sale journal.

Credit Note

            A credit note is raised in response to receiving returned stock, or notification of short supply or overcharging when goods and services have been purchased on credit. The supplier sends a credit note to the purchaser. The purchaser must give a reasonable explanation for the return. The reason for return is shown on the credit note. The supplier retains the duplicate.

            The credit note records the number of the invoice and purchase order.

            A credit note is an essential source document. The purchaser records details of the original credit note in the “purchases returns and allowances” journal; the supplier records details of the duplicate credit note in the “sales returns and allowances” journal.

Statement

            A statement is prepared by the supplier and sent to the purchaser, usually every month. For the supplier, the statement mirrors the purchaser’s account in the “account receivable” ledger. A statement is a monthly summary, in chronological (date) order, of all the transactions (invoices, credit notes, receipts and cash discounts) between the supplier and the purchaser. Statements are compiled as at the end of trading on the last day of the month, or other agreed balancing date.

            Statements are essential documents. Statements are not source documents – they are documents against which the supplier and the purchaser validate all other documents (invoices, credit notes, cheque butts and receipts).

Receipt

            A receipt is raised in response to receiving a cheque, any money (cash or electronic). The supplier sends a receipt to the purchaser. All monies coming into the organization must be receipted; however, not all suppliers actually send receipts to purchaser.

            If the purchaser has claimed a cash discount of the payment will not equal the amount of the account. The amount received and the amount of the cash discount must be recorded on the receipt.

            A receipt is an essential source document. The supplier records details of the receipt in the “cash receipt” journal.





Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Essential and optional financial documents


            Every business transaction for goods or services involves at least two organizations, one doing business purchasing and other doing the selling. Financial documents are generated for every transaction as proof of the transaction. Some documents are essential because they are used to record information about financial transactions in “books of original entry”, otherwise known as “journals”. Other documents are optional, that is they are not required in every business transaction. Journals do not record the information on optional documents.

Guidelines for completing financial documents

            Many documents and books of account are now processed electronically. However, the following guidelines apply to completing financial documents and books of account in a manual system:
  • Handwriting must be legible
  • Figures must be legible and kept in alignment
  • Errors should be ruled out with a pen and the correct figure should be written above
  • Correction should be initiated
  • You should not use correction fluid or erasers to correct errors
 Requirements for financial documents

            Documents raised in an organization for financial purposes have specific requirements for accounting, business, records, taxation and legal purposes. Documents are:
  • “Accountable forms” and must not be destroyed; an “accountable forms” register is kept for audit purposes; unused forms must be stored in a secure place
  • Required to display the name (and other details) of the organization generating the document
  • Numbered consecutively; an alphabetical prefix to the number indicates a series
  • Required to have an original and a duplicate; some organizations may produce even more copies
  • Required to show the date of he transaction
  • Required to record the numbers of the documents to which they refer; this provides an “audit trail”
 Credit transactions

            Businesses mostly conduct transactions on a credit basis. This means that goods or services are not paid for at the time of the transaction. A supplier extends credit to a purchaser. The purchaser must complete an “Application for Credit”. This document outlines the terms of trade established by the supplies and agreed to by the purchaser. Financial documents are usually pre-printed. They are designed to conform to the accounting practices and computer systems of the company.

Terms of Trade – Credit limit

            When negotiating terms of trade, the supplier will set a credit limit for the purchaser. The decision will be based on the purchaser’s financial situation, credit rating, paid up capital, etc.

Nett 30 days

            Most of organizations stipulate Nett 30 days for payment. This means that purchases for a month (say 1-30 June) will appear on the statement prepared by the supplier at the end of June. When the purchaser receives this statement from the supplier early in July, the purchaser has until 31 July to pay the account. If the account is not paid by 31 July, the amount will be “aged” on the statement into the “outstanding 30 days” box.


Sunday, 15 June 2014

Record management – The important of keeping records

It is important for all organizations, large or small, to have good record-keeping procedures. Records hold essential information for day-to-day running of an organization. They are effectively the “memory” of an organization.

            Records meet various requirements. They store information about personnel, customers, clients and the organization itself. They contain evidence of business transactions. Records also meet legal and accountability responsibilities. For example, they can prove that the organization has paid the right taxes, and complied with the legal requirements in various areas. They also used to maintain important historical records of the organization.

Forms of records

            Records come in different forms. They can be electronic data store or they can be hard copy. Some organizations (though not the average office) keep records on microfilm.
           
            Records vary depending on the type of organization. However, there are some kinds of records which all organizations keep. These include copies of correspondence, financial records and details of wages paid to staff.

            What ever records the organization keeps, the filing system should allow staff members to find the information they need quickly and efficiently. The organization should have a filing procedures manual in which these details are outlines.

Centralized and Decentralized records

Centralized records

            Many large organizations have a centralized records department. This means that all the records are kept in one place. The centralized record department has the responsibility for records for the whole organization and has total control over the distribution and release of information.

Decentralized records

            Decentralized records may be decentralized with central control or have autonomous control. This system has become more common in recent times. May organizations and departments now control and maintain their own records.

            The advantages of decentralized records are that there is easy access to files and that each section has control of its records within its own area. The disadvantages are that each section needs to have the right equipment for record-keeping and more staff need to have the expertise to keep records correctly.

Many organizations use a combination of centralized and decentralized records.

Records Management

            Records management covers the complete cycle of record from its creation to its disposal. The complete cycle is:
  • Records creation
  • Records maintenance
  • Records utilization and transmission
  • Records retention
  • Records disposal
Filling Classification

            Filing means classifying, sorting, arranging and storing records according to particular classifications.

The six most common types of classification are:
  • Alphabetical
  • Numerical
  • Alpha-numerical
  • Geographical
  • Subject
  • Chronological 
Organizations choose the classification that suits their needs.









Friday, 13 June 2014

What is Customer Service?

Nothing promotes business for the organization like a satisfied customer. Costly media campaign can never complete with the value of recommendation made by a satisfied client. If a customer’s expectations have been realized or surpassed in a business deal, the word will be passed on.

Customer Service is looking after people who really need help.

What is quality customer service?
  • Meeting demands for quality products and services
  • Encouraging confidence in the goods and services provided
  • Understanding customer requirements and expectations
  • Exceeding the expectations of clients
  • Developing service standards (through staff training)
  • Ensuring staff are well presented, merchandise is attractively displayed and work area is tidy
  • Keeping up-to-date with new trends and products
  • Etc
             It has been said that “quality and politeness are free”. When a customer service is not satisfied, it can be very expensive to regain him or her business and rectify the error.

Service provider’s role

            The organization should be constantly alert to changes in products and changes in customers’ needs. There is wide scope for innovation and new approaches.

There should be:
  • Planning for promotional ideas
  • Implementation of technically sound improvements
  • Provision of correct information
  • Retention of credibility
  • Assurance to customers of their value to the organization

Type of Customer

            A customer database is a valuable resource. If you have been a long-standing client of an organization, you like to be remembered. When records are on computer, it is easy for:
  • A staff member to access details of past dealings with the company
  • Material and information on clients to be retrieved according to specified classifications
  • Promotional material to be targeted to particular client groups
 Identification of the types of customer is useful for planning in an organization.

Customer needs

            Sometime a survey is undertaken or a questionnaire is given to establish the sorts of things a customer is looking for. If the organization is made aware of the needs of customers, improvements and modifications can be made. Organizations conducting this sort of activity are keen to “lift their game” and perhaps meet, or beat, their competition.
           
            The manner in which questions are posed has a significant impact on the value of the responses. It is good practice to begin with general questions and work down to things that are more specific. A short questionnaire that requires simple response is more acceptable to a potential respondent than a questionnaire that requires long answers. It is also easier and less costly to analyse.





Thursday, 12 June 2014

Receptionist duty when receiving Visitors

An interesting aspect of receptionist duties is demonstrating your ‘people skills’ as you receive visitors who come to the office to see various staff members.

            The extent of involvement with visitors will depend on the size of the organization and the way it is structured.

Small Organization
            In small organization there may be only one member of the office staff who carries out a wide range of duties, including of receptionist. It will be that person’s responsibility to make callers feel welcome, show them where to wait and direct them to the right person or place.

Large Organization
            Large organizations generally employ a receptionist to handle the switchboard, deal with callers and give routine information about the organization. The reception area is located near the main entrance to the building or suite of offices.

Security
            Some organizations require clients to sign a visitor’s book when they enter and leave the office. The receptionist might also supply visitors with an identifying badge or tag to wear while they are o the premises.


Visitors’ Requirement

            Acknowledge visitors as soon as they arrive. Your manner should always be courteous, pleasant and helpful. Politely ask the visitor’s name, who they have come to see, and whether he or she has an appointment.

            If you frame the question carefully you will get a clear and pleasant response. Here are some examples: “May I have your name please?” : “Would you mind spelling your name for me ?”. Concentrate on the answer given, maintain eye contact as much as possible, and avoid asking for answers to be repeated.

            Try not to make visitors wait. If you are on the telephone, acknowledge to visitor by a nod or smile.

Locating staff for visitors
            Once you have greeted the visitor and established why they are there, contact the person they have come to see as quickly as possible.

Contacting the staff member
            Phone the relevant staff members to tell them that their visitor has arrived. They will usually ask you to direct the visitor to their office, come to reception.

Directions for Visitors
            The manner in which a visitor is directed or escorted depends on the size and layout of the office. Remember, if you are responsible for switchboard duties and you leave your workstation, you must ask another member of staff to take calls while you are away.

Delays or non-availability
            For various reasons, a staff member might not be able to see a visitor immediately, even if he or she has appointment. If this happens, it is courteous to keep the visitors informed. Explain why the staff member is delayed or currently unavailable, and how long you think the visitor might have to wait.

Difficult situations
            Because the receptionist deals with so many callers and clients, he or she will sometimes have to handle unusual or challenging situations. These might be related to appointment details, misunderstandings, diversity of personalities or sensitive information. You should handle all situations and callers calmly, confidently and politely.




Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Role and duties of the Receptionist


            The receptionist is often the first person contacted and observed by clients and others wishing to do business with an organization. For this reason he or she is a very important person in the organization’s structure and will immediately give visitors and clients a positive or negative impression.

            As well as being a key contact person for those outside the organization, the receptionist is a central link for departments and people within the organization. These internal staff members might work in the same building.

The receptionist is a vital link:
  • For clients and customers of the organization
  • For departments and other companies belonging to the organization
  • Between staff members
  • Between staff members and people outside the organization
 Duties of the receptionist

            The person responsible for reception duties will be multi-skilled. Depending in the size and functions of the organization, the receptionist’s duties may include:
  • Greeting visitors
  • Introducing visitors
  • Switchboard operations (including handling enquires and complaints, transferring incoming and internal calls, making outgoing calls, taking and distributing message)
  • Handling incoming/outgoing mail
  • Organizing transport
 Personal and organization skills

            To fulfil the role and duties of the position, a receptionist needs a range of personal and organizational skills which may include:
  • Listening
  • Clear, and pleasant speech
  • Neat handwriting
  • Confidentially
  • Courtesy
  • Initiative
  • Tact and diplomacy
Corporate image

            First impression is very important. The appearance and presentation of both the reception area and the receptionist will influence the impressions visitors form about the organization. There is no room for slackness, untidiness, poor grooming or anything else which might mar organization’s image.

Reception area

            The way the reception area is set up and maintained is an indication of the standards the business wishes to reflect.

            Make sure that the reception area is kept tidy during the day. Ensure availability of:
  • Sufficient chairs
  • Reading material (including information about the organization, if appropriate)
  • Tea and coffee facilities
  • Comfortable temperature and ventilation
Personal appearance

            Corporate dressing or wearing a uniform can be part of an organization’s policy. If so, you should be given guidelines for the dress code when you start in the job. If there is no uniform, observe how other members of staff dress. Avoid extremes of fashion and build a wardrobe of clothes that suit you and are comfortable. One good way of doing this is to choose jackets, skirts and pants in basic colour and then add tops, shirts and accessories for toning or contracting effect.






Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Management of Stress

It is important for you to find the level of stress stimulates your productivity without causing any physical damage. If possible you should take action to remove the “factor” causing the stress. If this is not possible, then there are a number of ways or techniques that you can use to help manage stress, including the following:

Using relaxation techniques

            Relaxation techniques can be used to overcome stress by causing you to physically and mentally unwind. Physical relaxation can be achieved by “letting go” the tension in your muscles. Mental relaxation can be achieved by “blocking out” the thoughts which are causing the tension for a period of time each day.

Maintaining a correct diet

            A well-balanced diet in needed to supply your body with nutrients which will assist you when dealing with the adverse effects of stress.

Undertaking regular exercise

            Improve your physical fitness. Undergo a medical check-up and ascertain if there is any physical reason you cannot undertake regular exercise. If not, set about developing a program that appeals to you. Think movement “increase your activity”

Planning and Time Management

            Disorganization, lack of planning and the ineffective use of time management skills can lead to stress-related symptoms. Make certain that you establish your responsibilities, priorities and objectives and keep to you goals.

Delegating

            If you find yourself in a managerial position, remember that the delegation of duties in an important part of reducing unnecessary stress. Being able to delegate is an essential tool in stress control.

Communicating

            An effective way of reducing stress is talking to a good listener in the workplace about the work-related concerns you are experiencing.

Attending seminars/courses


            Stress management seminars/courses are available at in number of hospitals, clinics and community centres. Some organizations also run in-house programs on this subject.






Monday, 9 June 2014

Physical Hazards to be found in the workplace

       There are many physical hazards to be found in the workplace and these can have a detrimental effect on the productivity of the staff. Employers should ensure the occupational health and safety of stand by providing a safe work environment and taking into consideration noise, vibration, air quality, office furniture and equipment, office d├ęcor, workplace conditions and lighting.

Noise

High level irritating sound/noise is dangerous and can lead to:
·        High error rate
·        Difficulty in concentrating on tasks
·        Annoyance
·        Increased stress levels
·        Headaches
·       Interference with verbal communication, leading to misinterpretation of instructions
·        Noise-induced hearing loss

External Noise

            This may be due to the location of the building, and may come from heavy traffic, being under an aircraft flight path or be due to the activities of nearby industry. Although complete elimination of noise is not possible, the following will be minimized this problem:
  • Provision of thick masonry walls
  • Installation of acoustic ceilings
  • Installation of double-glazed windows
Internal Noise

            A special scale is used to measure noise. General points for internal noise reduction include:
  • Control noise at its source
  • Relocate or place equipment such as computers, word processors an photocopies in sound-proof booths, enclosures or rooms
  • Use noise-reducing pads to buffer sound
  • Use drapes and carpets to help with sound absorption
  • Choose office machines which are quiet
  • Request acoustic hoods for items such as noisy printers and computers
Vibration

Vibration is a common industrial hazard. It is often caused by the rapid to and from motion of power-driven machines or tools. Vibration can affect the whole body and/or hands and arms. Intense exposure can result in both short and long term physical disorders such as:
  • High blood pressure
  • Digestive and stomach ailment
  • Discomfort
  • Fatigue
  • Giddiness
  • Joint and home damage
  • Motion sickness
  • Nervous system damage, such as numbness
 General points for vibration reduction are:
  • Install automated systems for the job
  • Control vibration noise at its source
  • Re-design equipment and tools
  • Implement regular rest periods
  • Use insulation and remote controls
  • Use vibration-reduced equipment
  • Place machinery or equipment on vibration-dampening mounts
 Air quality and ventilation

            Small offices may use a portable air conditioner which can be located in different areas when required. Many large offices have a centrally controlled system which is operated only by authorized personnel. Both systems are used to provide the following benefits for staff.

Temperature and humidity control

            Maintaining comfortable levels of heat and moisture is necessary for the well-being of employees. This is also an important factor for the care and protection of computer-based equipment.

            Air conditioning/reverse cycle heating, fans or freestanding heaters may be used to meet individual needs.

Air control

            Under floor systems are becoming popular methods or air control. The floor is raised and. From the cavity below (plenum), the air is distributed into the working areas through grilles. Where there is no air conditioning, a good flow of air results from opening a window and a door opposite one another.

General points to consider regarding air quality and temperature:
  • Maintain comfortable levels of heat and cold
  • Provide a good flow of air
  • Provide cool rest areas
  • Provide appropriate rest breaks
  • Ensure there is access to hot or cold drinks, depending on requirements.