Welcome to the Office Safety tool, previously called the Virtual Office. As well as a new name, we have updated the site's navigation and content.

Use space to open navigation items

Office floors

Floor surfaces should be suitable for the work area. The choice of floor surface or cover will depend on the type of work carried out at the workplace, as well as the materials used during the work process.

Tips

  • Watch where you are walking.
  • Wear appropriate footwear.
  • Maintain good housekeeping.

Potential harm

  • Slips, trips and falls

Identified hazards and controls

Floor surface

Cause

  • Highly polished floors.
  • Plush carpet catching feet.
  • Wet floor.
  • Damaged floor.
  • Change in floor level.

What workers can do

  • Wear safe and practical footwear for the environment you are in.
  • Report unsafe situations, such as slippery or damaged floors.
  • Wipe up small spills.
  • Be aware of changes in floor surfaces, such as carpet to tiles or even different carpet piles from high traffic areas, like walkways, to workstation areas.
  • When visiting a different workplace, familiarise yourself with your surroundings.

What employers can do

  • Choose a non-slip floor material or one with a textured surface.
  • If a tiled or similar surface, have walk areas abraded or roughened to remove shine.
  • Use short pile carpet to reduce the chance of tripping and to allow delivery trolleys and carts easy movement on the carpet.
  • For wet floors:
    • Use appropriate signage to warn of slip hazards.
    • Provide non-slip matting for people to wipe their feet before entry.
    • Check that the drainage at entry points can cope with rain events.
  • Change in levels:
    • Where possible, joins should be flush with adjoining floor levels and not raised at any point.
    • Consider extra lighting and floor markings or signage to identify the hazard to people using the area.
  • Damaged floors:
    • Repair damaged flooring as soon as possible.
    • Place appropriate warning signs over damaged areas or remove access to the area until repaired.

Poor housekeeping

Cause

  • Cluttered workspaces.
  • Uncovered cables running across the floor.
  • Deliveries left in workplaces.

What workers can do

  • Maintain good housekeeping yourself and don’t clutter walkways.
  • Report unsafe housekeeping issues.

What employers can do

  • Provide adequate storage off the floor and designated areas for deliveries.
  • Provide bins for waste disposal.
  • Advise staff of the need to keep walkways clear of obstructions.
  • Remove cables that cross walkways.

Floor furnishings

Cause

  • Rugs and mats not secured.
  • Potential allergies from rug material.
  • Worn out furnishings.

What workers can do

  • Report unsafe floor furnishings, such as unsecured rugs or trip hazards.
  • When visiting a different workplace, familiarise yourself with your surroundings.

What employers can do

  • Choose rugs and other floor furnishings which have rubber backing, are easily visible and have a low profile, to reduce the chance of tripping.
  • Use hypo-allergenic rugs and floor furnishings to reduce the risk of allergic reactions.
  • Remove damaged rugs and mats.
Page last reviewed: 03 May 2021

Comcare (Office Safety tool)
GPO Box 9905, Canberra, ACT 2601
1300 366 979 | www.comcare.gov.au

Date printed 29 Jun 2022

https://www.comcare.gov.au/office-safety-tool/spaces/work-areas/office-floors