When it comes to Health and Safety, it’s not always the most popular topic and especially in the office. People often think that Health and Safety have gone over the top now, that anyone who cares about it is a jobsworth and that it’s not necessary.
You need to make sure that you comply with the latest Health and Safety Legislation which could mean that you need to do anything from getting a Legionella risk assessment to merely get your sockets tested or making sure you have a first aid kit in the office.
Quite often within the office, the health and safety risks are not obvious which is why people don’t realise how important they are, but they are an essential part of business life and here are the basics that must be followed to ensure your office is safe.
This is probably the most significant health and safety consideration in any workplace as in the case of a fire, there is a risk to life and also your business. In any office, you should have at least one person who is responsible for fire safety, and it’s their job to identify any potential fire hazards in the workplace.
They should also take steps to reduce the likelihood of a fire starting, and then put measures in place that reduce the severity of the situation if a fire does occur.
In an office environment, this will generally mean providing things like fire extinguishers and the correct signage to help people get out of a burning building. All employees should be familiar with the fire safety procedures, there should be regular fire drills for people, and fire alarms and smoke detectors should be checked and tested regularly.
Many fires are started in offices each year as the result of poorly maintained electrical equipment, so while electrical risks are relatively minimal in an office, they are still something that needs to be considered.
Precautions such as keeping liquids away from electrical objects, and not overloading power sockets with excessive plugs need to be taken as well as testing all equipment by law to ensure that it’s safe to use in the workplace. Poorly maintained equipment can also cause electric shocks, which can, in turn, be very severe.
Whether it’s lifting desks and monitors when you’re moving office or lifting heavy boxes when deliveries come, there’s always a chance that you could get an injury. Always follow manual handling best practice guidelines, and ensure that everyone else does the same.
This means getting as close to an object as possible before picking it up, keeping it close to your body, ensuring you’ve got a good grip, and using your legs and knees to do the lifting, not your back.
There should always be a designated first aider to deal with serious situations in every office. This person should have formal and accredited first aid training. The first aid kit is a necessary inclusion in any office, and it should be large enough to deal with a wide range of potential issues depending on how many people are in the office.
Trailing wires, stacked boxes, uneven floors, damaged carpets and more can all cause accidents in the office and what might seem like small problems can lead to a health and safety problem. Make sure everyone keeps tidy, for example, keeping food in drawers could attract pests which will require you to call in pest control.