Safety Tips for Using Step Stools in the Office

by George N. Root III; Updated September 26, 2017

Accidents in the office can happen when we least expect them. Using a step stool seems like a simple enough task, but if we do not follow proper safety precautions, an injury could occur. It is important to avoid taking things for granted when working in the office, especially the things that we are trying to balance on while looking for an important file on a high shelf. Keep in mind that it is not just your safety at risk but the safety of those around you as well.

Use the Right Equipment

A step stool is specifically designed to be used to reach items that are just a bit too far out of the range of our arms. They have rubber padded areas along the base that can help hold them in place while you are using them. The Grey Bruce Health Unit, a hospital administration organization, reminds us to never use a chair as a step stool. Many office chairs have wheels on them that can cause the chair to come out from under you while you're standing on one. Standard chairs can tip easily when your weight is shifted in a particular direction. To avoid accidents and injuries when trying to reach for something, always use a step stool.

Use the Proper Method

The City of Decatur, Ill., reminds us that we should never use step stools that are in need of repair. If the step stool is not stable or cannot lock in place to be used safely, find a different one to use. Make sure your step stool is close enough to what you are trying to reach so that you are not leaning over to pick up an item--this can cause you to lose your balance. If you need to stretch or go up on your tip-toes while on a step stool, you need a ladder. Watch your step when reaching for something to avoid falling off the step stool. It may only be a short distance to fall, but you could hit your head or receive some other serious injury.

Some Good Advice

When you are storing things, try to keep the everyday items as low to the floor as possible so that people can avoid having to use a step stool or a ladder. Always keep in mind that some people are not as tall as others, so store things within reach of everyone. If there are items that have to be stored a little higher than others, have a step stool available at all times and post a sign reminding people to use the step stool when reaching for higher-placed items.

About the Author

George N. Root III began writing professionally in 1985. His publishing credits include a weekly column in the "Lockport Union Sun and Journal" along with the "Spectrum," the "Niagara Falls Gazette," "Tonawanda News," "Watertown Daily News" and the "Buffalo News." Root has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the State University of New York, Buffalo.