Industries like construction and manufacturing prioritize safety. They know that in their dangerous field of work, employees risk injury on a daily basis. But in an office setting, managers may mistakenly believe there is no risk of injury to employees.
While an office environment is generally safe, there is still some risk of injuries and health problems. The following steps can guide you in your quest to enhance your office’s safety.
1. Prepare for Fires
An office fire may seem like a rare occurrence, but if it happens, it could be devastating. To prevent fire risk, inspect all cords for damage such as fraying or exposed wires. Make sure outlets are not overloaded.
Also, make sure your office has clearly marked exits. Hold regular fire drills to ensure employees know how to react if a fire occurs.
2. Keep It Clean and Clear
Walk around your office, looking for any potential hazards. Anything that gets in the way of your employees’ walkway poses a danger. This could include boxes, files, and other materials. Make sure all supplies are organized and placed out of employees’ way. Also, make sure no cords protrude into the walking area.
Even secured items could pose a safety to your employees. If you have shelving units, ensure they are not overly filled and that heavy items are on the bottom.
3. Update Tripping Hazards
As you perform your walk-through, look for any areas that could pose a slip-and-fall risk. Tile and marble floors can be slippery and aren’t the right choice for areas with high foot traffic. They are especially dangerous when they are near an outside door, where people frequently walk in with wet shoes.
Consider replacing these areas with carpet, but remember that even carpet can pose a tripping risk. Look at your carpet and rugs for loose sections.
4. Protect Against Vision Complaints
Staring at computer screens for long hours can affect employees’ vision and cause headaches. To reduce computer glare, make sure computer monitors are not placed directly behind or in front of windows. Cover windows with blinds or shades.
Strong overhead lights can hurt vision as well, so install a dimming option if possible. Small lamps at workers’ desks are a better option than glaring overhead lights.
5. Provide Comfortable Equipment
When many companies look for equipment like desks and chairs, they look for the most affordable deal. But buying comfortable, ergonomic equipment can save you money over time. With the right equipment, employees will be less likely to seek medical care for chronic pain.
The equipment should be adjustable to fit employees of different heights. You might even consider features like standing desks to ease the pain of sitting for long hours.
6. Set Up Equipment With Employee Comfort In Mind
In any work environment, repetitive movements can lead to pain and injury. Make sure each piece of office equipment is arranged in a way that helps workers avoid back, neck, and shoulder pain:
- Keyboard. Employees should be able to keep their feet on the floor while they work. Thus, the keyboard should be placed low enough that the employee doesn’t have to raise his or her chair to reach it.
- Mouse. The mouse should be placed right next to the keyboard. That way, employees don’t have to strain their back and neck muscles every time they use the mouse.
- Monitor. To avoid eye and neck strain, place the computer monitor slightly below eye level, about 20 inches from the employee’s eyes.
If employees frequently refer to books or documents while they work, place a document holder next to the computer. With a document holder, employees won’t have to look down at the desk and back up at the monitor, which strains the neck.
7. Get the Ventilation System Checked
Poor office ventilation can affect employees’ health. High humidity in the office can encourage mold growth, which can cause respiratory problems. On the other hand, low humidity can dry out the respiratory system and cause symptoms as well. Have an HVAC technician regularly change air filters and inspect the ventilation system.
8. Ask for Employee Feedback
While this list is a good place to start, your employees might have other ideas about how to improve workplace safety. Send out a survey to all employees asking for their feedback on what you can improve.
9. Invest in Insurance Protection
Even if you follow all these steps, accidents can still happen. That’s why you should protect your employees with workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation gives reparation to injured employees. It covers their medical bills and their missed time from work.
You should also make sure to invest in commercial property insurance. The insurance can cover the cost of any property that was damaged in a fire or storm. If you own company vehicles, protect employees who drive them with commercial auto insurance.
Talk to an insurance provider today about appropriate insurance coverage for your business.