Richard Hemmings here. My work involves Health & Safety and cleaning services.
Health and safety hazards can be found in office environments just as much as they are found in factories, hospitals, construction sites or retail locations. Employers and managers need to set safety rules to protect their employees. Ever workplace needs to have a health and safety management plan which identifies potential hazards, assesses risk, evaluates and puts clear control measures to ensure workplace health and safety.
Hazards in the office may not always be obvious but office workers face a range of health and safety issues ranging from poor job design, cramped work areas, inadequate lighting, moving heavy loads and prolonged repetitive work.
Here’s are ten general health and safety guidelines to look out for in office environments:
#1. Is the office suitably designed for functions and tasks required (i.e. is personal or shared space adequate for freedom of movement)?
#2. Is there risk stemming from sustained, awkward posture (i.e. are employees equipped with the right chairs, desks etc.)?
#3. Is storage like shelving and filing and other tasks requiring manual handling designed to control risks from slips?
#4. Are electrical cables and equipped regularly checked for damage?
#5. Are there remedial plans in place to deal with psychological risk factors like high levels of repetition, job overload, poor physical environment conflicting demands, personal relationships, inadequate training, bullying, fatigue or occupational violence?
#6. How are environmental issues like adequate lighting, noise, air quality and thermal environments assessed and addressed?
#7. Are there cleaning procedures to keep floor surfaces clean to manage biological risks and prevent slips?
#8. Is the first aid equipment adequate and are there trained people to administer aid when needed?
#9. Is there a procedure for emergency management and are there any scheduled practice runs to prepare employees in the event of a real emergency like a fire or bomb threat?
#10. Is there a system to manage the aftermath of traumatic events in the workplace like hold ups or physical violence and death?
Even though employers have a legal obligation to provide a healthy, clean and safe working environment; managing health and safety hazards in the workplace can lead to increased productivity, reduced costs and a higher morale.