Essential Safety Checklist for Your Office

The last place many people think about safety is the office. However, the office is where many employees spend the majority of their time each week. This makes safety an essential consideration for the office. For this reason, it’s imperative to conduct risk assessments to find potential hazards and the right solutions. Doing so ensures everyone at the office is safe, including employees and visitors.

Risk assessments are necessary for employers to conduct either on their own or in conjunction with an independent third party. The assessment is important for businesses in all industries.

No matter who conducts your risk assessment, there are a few areas that must be included in the process.

 

1. Fire Safety

When it comes to fire safety, there are two questions to ask when assessing fire risks in the office:

  • What procedures are in place to prevent fires from occurring and/or escalating?
  • What measures are there to help employees get out of the building in case of a fire?

Before you can develop procedures to prevent a fire, it’s necessary to identify fire hazards during the risk assessment. Hazards can include electrical equipment that overheats, ovens/microwave ovens in an office kitchen, and fuel sources (such as paper or packaging material) that can catch fire and spread.

When these risks have been recognised, it’s time to put together a plan on how to stop them from becoming a source of fire in the office.

 

Common Fire Hazards & How to Prevent Fires

Overheated Electrical Equipment

Overheated electrical equipment can include any type of electrical equipment in the workplace. When equipment is not in use, it should be turned off at the plug socket. Make sure water is kept away from electrical equipment and monitor this situation during the day.

Monitoring means listening for whirring sounds coming from electrical devices, checking if the equipment is hot to the touch, and noticing the small of anything burning.

Unclear Fire Exit Signs

When a fire breaks out, everyone in the building must evacuate the space quickly and safely. This means fire exit signs must be in place and easy to identify. In addition, employees need to be informed about all fire exits in the building.

It’s also a good idea to conduct an annual fire drill to help everyone know what to do in case of a fire. In addition, having guests and employees sign in when they arrive provides information about who is in the building. That provides a checklist to ensure everyone has left the office in case of a fire.

 

Potential Fuel Sources

Each fire starts somewhere and has a fuel source. The most common fuel sources include cardboard, paper, packing materials, and textiles. These materials need to be monitored to avoid a fire starting.

So, ensure there are places to safely store these materials where they can’t be ignited. For instance, you might choose to store paper in a metal cabinet away from electrical equipment.

 

Common Floor Hazards & Considerations

Next on the list of most common safety issues are floor hazards. Floors can be extremely dangerous in some circumstances and cause slips, trips, and falls. Almost a third of injuries in the workplace are caused by floor hazards.

While these accidents are common, they’re also preventable. They’re also more common in an office space that’s not kept clean and organised.

Here’s a list of the most common floor hazards found in an office:

  • Mud, leaves, and other debris are spread across the floor by footwear
  • Wet floors, from cleaning or spillages, are not clearly signed and cordoned off
  • Loose doormats, rugs, or carpets
  • Uneven walkways, steps, and ramps
  • Poor or inadequate lighting
  • Objects left in doorways and high-foot traffic areas
  • Loose cables from electrical equipment

Here are some of the most common floor hazards and how to prevent them:

 

2. Tripping Hazards

Loose cables, carpets, rugs, and doormats must be identified during the risk assessment. Once identified, the hazards must be fixed. For instance, loose cables can be tied together and/or covered to keep employees from tripping over them in high-traffic areas. Rugs and carpets that are loose may be taped to the floor substrate with special carpet tape.

Other tripping hazards may include objects left in high-traffic areas and are easier to deal with. These include removing a blockage and placing objects at a safe distance from where people walk (against the wall or away from doorways).

Uneven walks, steps, and ramps may need to be repaired or rebuilt if they are uneven and not safe. However, it’s also beneficial to play warning signs before stairs, and ramps are helpful to alert employees and guests while reducing accidents.

 

Wet Floors

Wet floors are another common hazard that happens most often when the floors have been cleaned. The floors are wet for a time and can cause a fall. To reduce falls caused by wet floors, signage is essential to warn and cordon off the area until the floors are dry.

Spills are another common issue that causes wet floors. Here, the best solution is to ensure that employees must clean up after themselves. That way, no one will be surprised by a spill on the floor and fall.

In addition, outdoor debris should be cleaned up regularly. This is usually a problem during the fall and winter months. The problem can be solved by encouraging employees to wipe their shoes on a doormat before entering the building.

 

3. Electrical Safety

There are many electrical devices in the modern office, including computers, phones, kitchen appliances, and more. Problems with electrical fires can be as simple as an employee spilling coffee on electric cables. So, all fluids must be kept away from these electrical devices.

In addition, it’s imperative to replace damaged equipment or cables to prevent a fire or shock hazard in the office. All electrical devices should be monitored regularly for overheating. Many devices can overheat and cause a fire. If equipment starts to become too hot or develops a burning smell, shut it down immediately.

Another common problem is overloading power sockets and extension cables, leading to overheating. So, ensure all sockets and extension cables only have the number of plugs allowed and not more.

 

Summing It Up

A safety risk assessment is an essential method to ensure that the office is a safe place to work. Once the assessment has been completed, it’s then time to fix all issues that turned up as safety hazards.

If you’re not comfortable conducting a risk assessment of your business, then you may want to consider hiring a professional third-party consultant that specialises in office safety and risk assessments. The goal is to ensure your office is a safe place for you and your employees to work.

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