Four steps to reducing office safety hazards
Health and safety in the workplace is a vital responsibility for business owners, regardless of their discipline or working environment.
While construction sites and power plants are undoubtedly more dangerous in terms of risk, there are proportional risks in even the most sedate of administrative environments, from trip hazards to muscle strain.
You have a legal obligation to your employees to provide a healthy and safe working environment – and there are many ways in which you can do so, even with relatively low-risk office environments.
What are the most effective routes to mitigating risk for your office employees? Here are four steps to take to reduce office safety hazards.
1) Perform a risk assessment
Before taking any direct steps to address hazards in your office, you need to first understand which hazards are present. The most effective way to do this is to undertake a risk assessment.
A risk assessment involves a tour of your office premises, identifying potential risks and how they can be mitigated. Risk assessments are important because they introduce accountability; measures are suggested to eliminate or reduce a risk, and an employee is assigned to personally handle those measures.
2) De-clutter your office
Clutter and mess can create serious hazards for workers in an office environment. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, slips and falls are responsible for the most lost days from work – and are a leading cause of worker’s compensation claims.
In de-cluttering your office, you can mitigate the risk of tripping and falling in the workplace. A de-clutter will remove unnecessary material and enable the proper storage of equipment.
3) Tidy and organize cables
Cable management is in the same vein as de-cluttering, but an important task to carry out for its own reasons. Cables can form trip and fall hazards in and of themselves, while power cables pose a serious electrical risk if not harnessed and affixed properly.
Wire ducts can be used to group cables and run them across the office, either above the ceiling tiles or against the wall – significantly reducing trip risk while better enabling diagnosis in the event of a fault. Cable ties and tie mounts can be used to harness cables beneath desks, preventing the likelihood of workers tangling themselves in cables and suffering a fall.
4) Train employees
Lastly, employee training is perhaps the single most effective intervention you can make as a business owner, regarding the health and safety of staff on-site. Through a robust health and safety training program, you can ensure that employees understand the proper lifting technique to prevent back injury. You can also ensure they understand the importance of posture when sitting at their desks.
Having all employees trained simultaneously ensures there are no knowledge gaps in the team, meaning everyone is at the same level. As such, employees can better hold one another accountable for safe workplace practices, as well as help one another safely.