Industrial, warehouse and manufacturing sites typically have a big focus on health and safety – and rightly so. They can be dangerous places if people aren’t properly trained and constantly vigilant.
It’s easier to forget about prioritising health and safety in office environments, but we all need to take the time to ensure that both the site and the people that use it are as safe as they can be. Here are our top tips for creating a safer office space.
Train your staff
Every business should have at least one person trained in first aid at work on site at all times. Make sure you have a couple of people trained up to cover absences or holidays, and that your other personnel know exactly who and where they should go in an emergency.
First aid kit
On the subject of first aid, you need to make sure that your first aid kit is accessible and fully stocked, and that people know where it is. Kits should contain the basics like bandages, gauze and plasters, as well as antiseptic, sanitizer and salves (tea and coffee scalds are surprisingly commonplace).
Make sure that you have the appropriate fire safety equipment available – offices typically have a high number of electrical devices, so make sure that your extinguishers are suitable for dealing with electrical fires as well as any paper or wood-fuelled flames.
Conduct regular evacuation drills – it’s a great chance to test your alarms and to ensure that designated routes are being kept clear and usable. Offices that have escape routes not typically used during day-to-day activities can sometimes find that boxes, spare equipment and even furniture can get stored in the way – your drills will make sure that this doesn’t happen.
Make sure everyone can be evacuated quickly
If your premises are particularly large or you have offices above ground floor, you should look into evacuation chairs. These enable personnel to assist a person with reduced mobility to get out of the building quickly and safely. If you have some offices below ground level, make sure that your chair has skids to help with moving it upstairs – a lot of models are only designed for going down.
In the case of snow that falls during the day, it may be handy to have gritting salt on hand. That way you can ensure that your staff can get home safely and see the road more clearly while they drive back home. Especially if they forgot to bring their own gear to clean off snow from their car.
Good use of safety signage is a cornerstone of effective health and safety practice. You can use signs to point the way to first aiders, kits, fire extinguishers, alarm points and evacuation routes, as well as to provide warnings about potentially hazardous behaviour.
We’ve looked at some worst-case scenarios so far, but the majority of office-based health and safety issues actually arise from poor posture. Using adjustable chairs (and showing your staff how best to sit for long periods) and height-adjustable desks can make a huge difference – reducing aches, pains and musculoskeletal issues and thus improving morale, productivity and staff engagement/retention.
Remove trip hazards
Second to ergonomic issues, slips and trips can be commonplace in the office. Make sure that walkways are kept clear of bins by placing them strategically between or under desks and, ideally, provide lockers or cloakroom equipment for your employees to stash their coats and bags. Finally, cover up trailing cables with cable protectors – tripping on these can not only cause injury to the person who tripped, but also can jerk equipment from desks.
Author Bio: First Mats started life as safety matting specialists, but have since expanded to become a complete industrial and commercial supplies company. The focus of First Mats is to provide safety-focused products that improve the wellbeing of staff through quality approved products, backed up by extensive knowledge. www.firstmats.co.uk