We don’t particularly think of offices as dangerous environments, but while they are certainly not as hazardous as a laboratory, factory or a farm, they can still present very real dangers. Office workers are injured every day across all industries and in almost all cases the injuries could have been prevented with the right procedures in place. Workplace injuries not only cause immediate suffering for the employee in question, but they can also lead to the them having to take time off from work or, in extreme cases, they may take legal action against your company. This guide highlights the key steps you can take to make your office a safe environment for your employees.
Have a fire safety policy
Every workplace needs to have fire safety equipment in place as well as fire escape routes and a well-communicated emergency procedure. Click here for more information on fire safety in the workplace.
Keep it clutter free
A messy office is an accident waiting to happen, so it is vital to keep floors clear of boxes, rubbish, bags and any other office equipment or personal possessions. It is also important to close drawers in desks and filing cabinets to prevent people from tripping over them, bumping into them, or hitting their head. It might also be worth investing in safety stops for filing drawers which are particularly full and could cause injury if the contents were to fall.
Clean spills quickly
Accidents happen, but if someone spills even a small amount of fluid on a hard floor you need to act quickly to prevent people from slipping. A sign should be put up to indicate that the floor is wet so that people can avoid the area until it has been cleaned and has dried fully.
Keep stairways safe
If you have stairs in your premises, you need to ensure that they have a handrail to provide balance and support for people using them. It is also important to look out for loose carpeting or objects which could cause people to trip.
Provide ergonomic and adjustable furniture
Office injuries are not always the result of one-off accidents. If you are not providing your staff with adjustable and ergonomic chairs and/or standing desks, your employees may develop back, neck or shoulder injuries over time.
Conduct gas and water safety testing
If you have gas appliances in your office, they need to be tested and serviced by a Gas Safe-registered engineer on an annual basis. It is also important to install a carbon monoxide detector, as carbon monoxide is an odourless, clear gas that can cause severe illness, brain damage or even death. You should also book the Legionella testing service from Dakro Environmental to ensure that your hot- and cold-water supply is free from harmful bacteria.
Ensure all appliances are safety tested
The computers, printers, telephones and any other electrical office equipment that you have needs to be PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) tested. IT equipment should be tested every 4 years, while portable equipment should be tested every 2 years – or every 12 months in the case of frequently used handheld equipment.
Train your staff
A lot of workplace accidents could be prevented if employees are alert and aware of the risks around them, so regular health and safety training is essential. This includes training people on how to lift correctly to avoid injury. Consider providing staff with the opportunity to train in CPR and first aid. Sometimes there is no way to anticipate or prevent an accident from taking place, so be sure to always have a well-stocked first aid kit on hand, as well as procedures in place in the event of an emergency.