Health and safety is never a popular topic of conversation in the workplace, especially in offices where there are aren't many apparent risks. However, that does not mean that it isn't a fundamental part of business life.
We have qualified health and safety consultants, who will actually do the risk assessments for you. They become your 'Competent Person'. We can train you and your staff to ensure that everyone knows their duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act. Our Consultants provide Competent Health and Safety advice as called for in Criminal Law. Let our Safety experts build your top-down Health and Safety Management System. Whatever your requirements Risk Assessments, Policies and Procedures, we're here to provide low-cost time saving solution.
Precision protects your Staff, Customers, Brand & Directors. Health and Safety doesn't have to be complicated; it is often about correctly recording things you already do.
Running a business in a competitive market is stressful enough without having your focus distracted by essential safety issues and legal compliance requirements.
With that in mind, we're going to take a look at a few of the most important things that any business must consider if they have an office space. Please take a look below for lots of useful information.
Senior H&S Consultant at Precision Safety
Chris deals with sites like Westminster Cathedral
Seemingly the most significant health and safety concern in any workplace is fire safety. It's a life and company threatening issue, which means it must be dealt with seriously and accurately. All offices must have at least one person accountable for fire safety, it's their job to recognise all possible fire hazards in the workplace, take action to reduce the possibility of a fire starting, and then put control measures in place that decrease the severity of the blaze if a fire does occur. In an office setting, this will mean providing things like fire extinguishers that can stop paper and electrical fires, and also providing correct signage to help people get out of a building in flames. All staff should be accustomed with the fire safety protocols, fire alarms and smoke detectors must tested regularly by a competent person.
Electrical risks in the workplace are fairly low in an office environment, ,nonetheless, something that needs to be considered carefully. All equipment must be inspected by law (this is called a written scheme of examination) to ensure that it's safe to use in the workplace. Inadequately maintained appliances can cause electric shocks, which can, in turn, be very severe. Many fires are started in buildings each year as the outcome of poorly maintained electrical equipment. Other precautions should also be considered, such as keeping liquids away from electrical items, and also not overloading plug sockets with excessive plugs or daisy-chained extension leads.
Always 'lift with your legs, and not with your back'. This is something that's said for good reason. Even in offices, manual handling is something that's encountered on a regular basis. Whether it's lifting tables and chairs or computer monitors when you're having an office reorganisation, or you're lifting big boxes of old archives, there's always a possibility to cause yourself a permanent injury. Always follow manual handling best practice procedures. This means getting as near to an object as possible before lifting it up, keeping it close to your body, ensuring you've got a good grasp, and of course using your legs and knees to do the work, not your back.
There should always be a nominated first aider to deal with serious situations who needs to have formal training. Accidents are random and can happen anywhere, so you should always be prepared. From kitchens to storerooms they all have plenty of potential hazards. A first aid kit is, therefore, a mandatory inclusion in any office, it should be large enough to handle a wide range of risks identified, depending on how many people are in the office.
Our health and safety training courses (see here) for more information about physical safety at work.
Moreover, finally, a note should be made of general workplace housekeeping. Trailing wires, stacked boxes, uneven floors, worn carpets and more can all cause mishaps in the office. Apparently innocuous things can lead to a first aid situation, minor accidents can be easily avoided by just having some common sense.
Precision's online certified video training in the Workplace courses provide an interactive fun way to stay safe and compliant. They may be of particular use to businesses looking to guarantee that they have a good understanding of their responsibilities and an excellent approach to keeping their employees safe. Click here to be taken to the course page, or you check out our whole range of other health and safety courses.
As an employer, you are legally bound to carry out a risk assessment. This helps you to identify hazards and risks that may affect you, your employees, and possibly members of the public. It is one of the first steps to a successful health and safety policy.
In a risk assessment, you must identify 'hazards' that could cause harm to any of the three parties described above. You should then assess the risks that result from these hazards, and implement precautions and methods that help you deal with them. They should be properly recorded and ready for inspection by the Health and Safety Executive.
Risk assessment is not be a complicated process; it needs to be "suitable and sufficient" for your business type. Further information is available in our article on conducting a risk assessment.
There are lots of areas that need to be risk assessed, as previously mentioned there are lots of obvious risks. However; there are things like RSI, Repetitive strain injuries or VDU issues. If employees are required to spend long sessions in front of computer monitors or other visual display units (VDUs), they must be made aware of the potential risks to their spines, necks and eyes, employees should be encouraged to take periodic breaks from staring at their computer screens. According to the HSE, workers should have a 5-minute pause for every 50-60 minutes of computer work.
Whenever a new employee joins your organisation, you must ensure that they receive a full health and safety induction inline with the risks posed by their role.
While there are fewer risks associated with office work than, say, with a job in a thermonuclear power plant, it is still necessary that each worker is aware of the possible dangers and is aware of systems and policies to keep them safe. Providing this will ensure that you to fulfil your legal obligations as an employer. Once the employee has undergone their induction, you may then want to consider testing them on its contents.
Your employees must be aware of the procedure that must happen in the event of a fire. Fire drills in the workplace must be carried out at least twice a year, and every member of your organisation must take part.
Employee should know the following:
how to report a fire
how to sound the alarm;
how to use fire extinguishers and other equipment;
how to notify the fire brigade;
how to evacuate the structure, avoiding elevators where relevant;
and where to muster once they have evacuated.
You must also have at least one 'responsible person' who will be empowered with overseeing the evacuation and assisting to control fire-prevention systems. These individuals will require extra training to guarantee that they can carry out their responsibilities properly.
It is crucial that your employees remain familiar with your health and safety policies. As well as guaranteeing that these are written down and readily available, for example on a business Intranet, you should consider testing your employee's knowledge regularly. This can help to refresh their knowledge of policies and procedures and to make sure that they remain aware of the risks in their workplace. Most workplace accidents are caused by complacency; this can be avoided through routine testing.
H&S must be a priority for employers. Taking the time to guarantee that your employees are appropriately trained and aware of any workplace risks can help to minimise the potential for accidents – and, as a result, help you to maintain a healthy happy workforce.
Safety is paramount in our business and Precision have been our safety net for many years; their advice and support has been invaluable. I have no hesitation recommending their services.
Richard Thorpe - Club Director
Pavilion Health Club