Use space to open navigation items


Plants are included in offices to help provide a pleasant environment. Plants add colour, clean the air, reduce noise, and help improve the mood and productivity of employees.


  • Check if you can bring your own plants into the office.
  • Care for plants in your workplace.
  • Have plants commercially supplied and maintained.

Potential harm

  • Allergies
  • Bugs and insects

Identified hazards and controls

Allergenic or poisonous


  • Plants that have allergenic or poisonous qualities.
  • People who are susceptible to skin-based or respiratory irritation from close contact with certain plants.

What workers can do

  • Check with your employer before bringing your own plants into the office.
  • Advise your employer if you suffer from plant allergies and the types of plants you are allergic to.

What employers can do

  • Discuss plant selection with a plant provider or nursery or have them commercially supplied.
  • Situate plants in places that do not obstruct any worker’s view.
  • Choose plants that do not flower and are not poisonous (see Table 1).
Table 1: Toxicity of certain plants to people, dogs and cats
Plant typeToxic to humansToxic to dogsToxic to cats
Philodendron Mildly Yes Yes
Pothos Yes Yes Yes
Arrowhead Mildly Mildly Mildly
Lily Moderately Moderately Yes
Peace Lily Yes Yes Yes
Dieffenbachia Moderately Moderately Moderately
Oleander Extremely Extremely Extremely
Caladium Yes Yes Yes
Mother-In-Law's Tongue Moderately Moderately Moderately
Ivy Mildly Yes Yes



  • Larvae in the soil of plants brought into the office.
  • Small insects living on the underside of plants.

What workers can do

  • Check with your employer before bringing your own plants into the office.
  • Report any insect infestations.
  • Put all your food scraps in the bin and empty daily.

What employers can do

  • Conduct regular inspections of indoor plants.
  • Have plants properly maintained which includes watering, pruning, cleaning of dust, and replacing sick plants.
  • Have infected plants and soil removed.
  • If required, use an insecticide after hours.
Page last reviewed: 04 May 2021

Comcare (Office Safety tool)
GPO Box 9905, Canberra, ACT 2601
1300 366 979 |

Date printed 21 Apr 2024