Office safety is something to take seriously as injuries do happen in offices, and ill health can be suffered like any other more hazardous workplace.
The good news is that office safety can be managed in-house, by you. Our top tips sum up the most important aspects of managing office safety and are a useful gauge to determine whether your health and safety management is on the right track.
Before we get into the top tips, I want you to consider two important questions:
- Who is responsible for office safety?
- Why is good health & safety management necessary in an office?
Who is responsible for office safety?
The short answer is everyone is responsible:
- The business owner has overall responsibility. Though, a senior employee may be given responsibility for day to day safety management.
- A competent person (or persons) could be appointed to help the senior person manage safety.
All Employees have to take reasonable care to protect themselves & others and cooperate with their employers so legal obligations can be met.
Whichever category you fall into, know your responsibilities and act on them.
Why is good health and safety management necessary in an office?
In a nutshell, good health and safety management can:
- Help reduce ill-health related absence from issues like stress;
- Boost employee morale and productivity;
- Reduce the chance for civil claims following workplace incidents.
Top Tip 1 – Define Your Safety Strategy
Does your business have a written policy statement? What about procedures and arrangements for managing health & safety?
These are all needed to ensure that you and your business are clear about why health & safety needs to be managed, and how it is done consistently.
A typical run-of-the-mill office will need procedures and / or arrangements for safe equipment use, manual handling and emergencies like first aid.
Top Tip 2 – Write Down Your Plan
Once you have established a strategy, everyone needs to be clear on who is doing what.
Generally, this is where writing down your plan helps. You need to:
- Identify all relevant tasks;
- Decide when tasks need to be undertaken;
- Assign a task owner that is responsible for task completion.
Once these elements are in the plan, make sure all required resources are allocated to allow the tasks to be completed.
Top Tip 3 – Assess your hazards and risks
As we said earlier, accidents and ill health can happen in offices. In order to minimise the risks, you need to undertake a risk assessment and ensure controls are in place to manage identified hazards.
Here are some examples of common office hazards we see the most:
- Electrical hazards from damaged equipment;
- Computer (DSE) hazards from a poor seating position;
- Trip hazards from trailing leads and other obstructions;
These are just some examples that may exist in your workplace. Either way, the risk assessments need to be specific to your workplace and compliant with current legislation.
Check out our Office Safe support packages to find out how BRS Solutions can help you with this and more.
Top Tip 4 – Continually Review Your Office Safety Performance
Health & Safety isn’t something that can be done once and then be forgotten about. You need to review the business’ safety performance regularly.
Auditing your workplace will provide useful information to act upon, such as:
- Good practice to praise and reinforce;
- Controls not working;
- Procedures and arrangements need updating.
Remember to use the findings to update your strategy, plan and risk assessments!
Top Tip 5 – Communication and Training are Key
If you already do what we have identified in the first 4 top tips, then avoid shooting yourself in the foot. Tell employees and other interested parties about how safety is being managed.
Communication and training are essential to ensuring employees work safely and know what is being done to safeguard their health and wellbeing:
- Include health & safety in your induction training;
- Provide specific training for the work employees undertake;
- Discuss health and safety in team meetings;
- Display useful information on notice boards.
Hopefully, this has given you some items to consider. If you have any questions on anything written in our top tips, please do contact us.
We will be more than happy to discuss your health and safety needs and provide any support you need to be successful in managing your office safety.
Have a great week.