Office safety is about more than checking for obvious hazards. It’s an ongoing process that involves constantly monitoring the office space for threats and planning for worst-case scenarios. Employees who feel safe are of course more productive, but the imperative runs deeper than that. Business owners have a moral duty of care towards their staff.
Here are five ways to make your office safer:
#1 Have a fire safety plan
First and foremost, ensure that there’s a fire safety plan in place. Offices contain a range of electrical devices. Fires can start easily and spread quickly, so it’s important that everybody knows exactly what to do in an emergency. Make sure that the fire escape plan is clearly signposted and that everyone is aware of the meeting point outside. Don’t rely on documentation for this either. Relay the information verbally, conduct regular fire drills and ensure that there’s a designated fire officer in place.
#2 Appoint a first aider
First aid applies to everything from taking care of small injuries to much more serious medical emergencies. Having a trained first aider on site can save lives, so it’s vital that you have someone in place. First aid courses teach individuals how to administer the correct, lifesaving treatment in an emergency, and they’re widely available. From there, make sure that everyone in the office knows who the first aider is. Time is crucial in an emergency, so leave no room for confusion.
#3 Check your insurance
Insurance covers both you and your employees if the worst happens. There are several different types. Public liability insurance is useful because it protects you against injuries sustained on your premises. Employer’s liability insurance safeguards against big claims and is extremely useful to have if an accident happens. More than just covering you financially, insurance also offers the injured party practical advice, and in some cases, ongoing medical support.
#4 Hire an inspector
Safety inspectors are a common sight in offices across the country. They’ll audit your office space looking for any areas that might be dangerous. These could include (but aren’t limited to) trip hazards, unmarked stairs, potential fire risks, and even electrical faults. No office is completely free from hazards, so if you’ve never brought an inspector in before, they’ll almost certainly identify some problems. You’ll get a report at the end of the investigation detailing areas to work on.
#5 Take care of mental health too
Mental health, of course, is just as important as physical health. Stress, anxiety, and depression can all afflict a workforce that’s overworked and facing burnout. Flexible working hours, sick pay, and even a hybrid work from home model all help with mental health. Better still, appoint an in-house counsellor who staff can approach with their problems anonymously. Talking makes a big difference, so make sure that your employees have an outlet. Pushing staff too hard or being inflexible as an employer is a sure-fire way to lose your workforce. Listen to their concerns when they arise and try to take positive action.