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When we think of employee safety, the first thing that comes to mind is concern for those working in the construction and the manufacturing industries. That’s probably because in these sectors, workers are required to operate in the outdoor environment, which makes them prone to life-threatening dangers, physical and otherwise.
Jobs that entail completing a task while sitting in a chair inside the four walls of an air-conditioned office building would seem like a safe place to work. However, such workplaces aren’t free of hazards either.
It is extremely important for employees to feel they work at a safe place where they need not worry about their physical and mental well-being. Regardless of the size of your business, you need to make the safety of your employees a primary concern.
Knowing about the various hazards that lurk around a workplace and learning office safety tips can be highly instrumental in mitigating risks and preventing accidents. Here’s more on this.
- Banish Clutter
First and foremost, it is essential to keep your walkways and other areas of traffic clutter-free. Files and other items piled recklessly in such areas can create a tripping hazard. Ensure that there is a designated place to store all your office materials and that everything is put back in its place after use. This will not only keep your office more organized, but also free of chaos.
- Reduce Falls
Several offices tend to have floors that are either carpeted or made of a surface that can cause employees to slip and fall. Marble tiles can be extremely unsafe to walk on, especially when wet. Further, walking on a torn carpet can also result in a nasty trip.
It is better to install anti-slip flooring in your office. Moreover, placing a well-maintained, water-absorbent carpet or rug at entrance ways can be helpful when workers/employees enter it with shoes wet from rain or snow.
- Have Ample Lighting
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Sufficient lighting (or the lack of it) in your office is crucial in determining its safety quotient. This means setting up your office in a way that makes way for a good amount of natural light (without glare) coming in wherever possible.
Adequate provision for local lighting at workstations, installing emergency lighting, and having well-lit corridors, stairs, lounges and parking spaces are other areas of concern.
- Ensure Safe Use of Cabinets and Drawers
Make sure your file cabinets and shelves aren’t overburdened and that there aren’t too many extended drawers around as all of these can pose as potential hazards if not secured. Open drawers on desks make for a tripping hazard, which is why it is important to shut them firmly when not in use.
Further, heavy items should be stored as close to the floor as possible. Huge stacks of materials and heavy equipment can cause major injuries if they are knocked over.
- Avoid Ergonomic Injuries
Office jobs call for employees to remain seated almost throughout the day, which can make them prone to strains and posture-related injuries. It is best to prevent ergonomic injuries by providing your employees with adjustable work surfaces and equipment such as monitor stands and chairs. This will not only ensure the employees’ comfort, but also that their body remains in good shape as they work for you.
Several offices undermine this and fail to make adequate arrangements for their employees’ safety, only to find themselves in the middle of a lawsuit. If you happen to know someone who has been a victim of personal injury due to insufficient safety measures at their workplace, you can help them get justice. All they need to do is contact a lawyer from their vicinity. Searching online can help. Simply type the name of your city along with the services you need. If you’re a resident of Indianapolis, for instance, looking for Indianapolis personal injury attorney will provide you with relevant matches.
- Ensure Upkeep of Power Cords
Damaged power cords can become the source of serious fire hazards and can get you in trouble for violation of safety codes. It is crucial to regularly check for the wear and tear of wires. They should be discarded if they’re frayed or if the third prong in them has been damaged or is missing.
Ask an experienced electrician to have a look at your office’s wiring to make sure that they are not overloading the power outlets as this can result in a colossal fire.
If you use extension cords, make sure they’re used sparingly to connect one device at a time and only after being approved by concerned certifying authorities.
- Install Fire Sprinklers
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Ensure that smoke detectors and fire sprinklers are installed in your office, and that they are always in good working condition. You also need to make sure that they are never blocked by tall furniture and equipment or stacks of materials as that will reduce their effectiveness in case of an emergency.
- Arrange for Escape Routes
Emergencies never strike with a warning, which is why you need to be prepared to deal with them. Every office should plan its layout with an emergency exit route in mind. Every employee should be familiarized with this path, and it should remain devoid of clutter at all times to avoid trips and falls when evacuating the office, should the need arise.
- Hygiene Matters
In order to ensure that your employees stay in good health, you will need to provide them with hygienic work conditions. This includes providing them with clean toilets and wash basins with clean water supply. Soaps, fresh towels and other means of drying will also be required. Restrooms with showers for washing up after performing a field job should also be provided.
A clean cafeteria which includes the facilities necessary for eating food and drinking clean water is also a must. Most modern workplaces also make arrangements for resting facilities for their pregnant women.
- Encourage Employees to Report Hazards
Encourage your employees to actively participate in the risk mitigation process by reporting hazards as and when they come across them, thereby enabling you to get a handle on them before they cause injury.
A few instances that they can watch out for are torn carpets, unsteady steps or floorboards, protruding tiles, defunct light bulbs, defective chairs and/or desks, malfunctioning equipment, obstructed walkways, and loose electrical cables.
- Conduct Periodic Inspections
Keep your eyes and ears open to stay alert of potential hazards at all times. Make the time to conduct regular safety inspections in your office premises and watch out for the red flags. Examine all areas of your office. This includes screening every workstation for ergonomic issues as well. Such inspections can go a long way in minimizing hazards and preventing impending office accidents.
As an entrepreneur, you already have a lot of things on your mind, and the last thing you want to deal with is a personal injury lawsuit slapped on you by your employees. More importantly, it is your responsibility to ensure that you provide your employees with a healthy work environment. The above pointers can help you figure out how you can make your office a safe place to work in. Put them into practice to ensure that your employees channelize their focus only towards their work, rather than constantly worry about their well-being.
Author Bio: Rachel Oliver is a thought leader in laws dealing with personal injury and related niches. Updated with the latest happenings in the legal world, she shares her experiences and anecdotes through her write-ups on various websites. Interact with her through her Google+ profile.