Nowadays, Health & Safety is a considerable concern for employers across all industries.
If you work in an office environment, you might be fooled into thinking that it is more a case of ticking boxes than addressing actual health and safety concerns but that’s not always the case.
While industries such as construction and manufacturing may have to consider larger, more obvious threats, it is important to ensure that your employees have a safe environment to work in, no matter where that may be.
Employers have a duty of care to their employees relating to both their physical and their mental wellbeing.
Employment Rights Ireland says; “Regardless of any piece of legislation such as the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005, employers have always had a common law duty to provide a safe place of work…”
Keep It Clean
Clutter lying around or bins that are not emptied regularly can become a hazard to your employee’s health. Things like trailing cables and disorganised cupboards should be addressed straight away. Create processes and schedules to manage this and make each department responsible for maintaining their own immediate area.
Lift It Correctly
All of your employees should undertake regular manual handling training to show them how to lift properly without damaging their backs. This is especially important for staff such as engineers, warehouse staff, and field sales reps that may be moving equipment or products regularly. At the same time anyone working in an office environment may also be required to move or lift heavy items such as boxes of paper so they should also know how to do this safely. Provide lifting equipment and aids wherever possible.
If you see it say it – ask for your employees help to keep their environment safe – making them more aware of their environment will reduce the likelihood of accidents and will also reassure them that you take their health and safety seriously. Create a process for notifying the relevant team or person of any issues. Encourage people to report things like broken door handles, poor ventilation or lighting, equipment hazards, temperature variations or bulbs that need replacing.
Keep It Down
The Safety Management Group says;
“Offices can be surprisingly noisy places. Even though the noise levels workers encounter typically aren’t intense enough to cause hearing loss, they can be a key contributor to stress and detract from morale. Designing offices to separate workers from noisy equipment such as printers and ventilation equipment can help. In addition, increasing the distance between workstations or using noise-absorbing materials such as cubicle walls, carpeting, and acoustic tile can also lower the volume.”
Make It Supportive
Provide all of the necessary safety equipment for the different roles within your organisation. Ensure that you have trained first-aid people on site at all times and first aid equipment in key locations such as the kitchens and warehouse.
Create a safe environment for your employees to share concerns and opinions. Make sure there is a way for them to share information regarding their personal circumstances that may be causing stress, without any fear of their personal information becoming public knowledge.